Man Takes Up Fight for Right to Die

18 Apr 2013

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Tony Nicklinson was paralysed by a stroke in 2005

A paralysed man is taking up the legal challenge previously mounted by the late Tony Nicklinson for the right to die with the help of a doctor.

Paul Lamb, 58, from Leeds, has joined forces with the family of Nicklinson, who died in 2012.

Earlier this year, Nicklinson's widow Jane won permission to continue the challenge to a High Court ruling against doctor-assisted death, reports the BBC.

Anti-euthanasia campaigners say the current law protects vulnerable people.

The two cases will be heard in the Court of Appeal on 14 and 15 May.

In England and Wales, it is an offence to encourage or assist a suicide or a suicide attempt. The law is almost identical in Northern Ireland.

In Scotland there is no specific law on assisted suicide, although in theory someone could be prosecuted under homicide legislation.

BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman says Lamb's case goes beyond assisted suicide, because he is so badly paralysed that he could not take the final steps to kill himself.

In March, the Court of Appeal granted an order allowing Lamb, who has waived his right to anonymity, to take over Nicklinson's claims.

He is seeking a court declaration that any doctor who killed him would have a defence against such a charge.

The defence is known as "necessity", meaning it was necessary for the doctor to act to stop intolerable suffering.

Lamb, who was severely injured in a car accident in 1990, has no function in any of his limbs apart from a little movement in his right hand. He says he has been in pain for 23 years, needs 24-hour care and his life consists of "being fed and watered".

In a statement to the courts, he said: "I am in pain every single hour of every single day. I have lived with these conditions for a lot of years and have given it my best shot.

"Now I feel worn out and I am genuinely fed up with my life. I feel I cannot and do not want to keep living. I feel trapped by the situation and have no way out.

"I am fed up of going through the motions of life rather than living it. I feel enough is enough."

Lamb, a divorced father of two, said he was not depressed and just wanted to end his life in a dignified way, with his loved ones around him.


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