Thursday, 21 September 2017

Terminally ill man takes right-to-die fight to court

Noel

LONDON: A man who is terminally ill with motor neurone disease is to bring his latest attempt to change the law on assisted dying to the High Court.

Retired college lecturer Noel Conway is bringing a judicial review over the current law at a five-day hearing starting on Monday.

The 67-year-old, from Shrewsbury, was diagnosed with the disease in November 2014 and is not expected to live beyond 12 months.

When he has less than six months to live and retains the mental capacity to make the decision, he wishes to be able to enlist assistance to bring about a “peaceful and dignified” death.

He wants a declaration that the Suicide Act 1961 is incompatible with Article 8, which relates to respect for private and family life, and Article 14, which protects from discrimination.

Mr Conway, who is supported by Dignity in Dying, has already been to the Court of Appeal to win the right for what he calls his “fight for choice at the end of life” to proceed.

Noel Conway

He said: “I am more determined than ever to continue.

“I have the support of my loved ones and many thousands of others behind me; people who have donated over £90,000 towards my legal costs and sent heart-warming messages of encouragement to me and my family.

“I have lived my whole life on my own terms, in control of the choices and decisions I make.

“Why then, when I am facing my final months, should these rights be stripped away from me, leaving me at the mercy of a cruel illness?

“I know I am going to die anyway, but how and when should be up to me.

“To have the option of an assisted death available in this country wouldprovide me and countless others with great reassurance and comfort.

“It would allow me to decide when I am ready to go, rather than be forced into a premature death by travelling to Dignitas at great emotional and financial cost, or to suffer a traumatic, drawn-out death at home.”

The case follows that brought by Tony Nicklinson, who suffered from paralysis after a stroke.

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