Assisted Dying – Lamb, Nicklinson and ‘Martin’

Tstory-suicide-1107oday, judgment has been passed in the appeal case with regards to assisted suicide.  Jane Nicklinson, the widow of the late Tony Nicklinson was appealing against a decision made just days before Tony’s life ended.

Background with regards to the decision made in August 2012 can be read here.  Paul Lamb has also joined the campaign with Jane, and today the ruling has been made.

Jane Nicklinson has told the BBC how disappointed she was and how she was not totally surprised at the decision and she added:

“We will carry on with the case for as long as we can so that others who find themselves in a position similar to Tony don’t have to suffer as he did. Nobody deserves such cruelty.

“Although we lost, the legal team are quite pleased with the outcome – the appeal judges actually upheld a couple of points which the High Court rejected, which is a step forward.”

Another person, only known as ‘Martin’ also joined the campaign and wanted clarification as to whether it would be possible for a health professional to accompany them to Dignitas, without facing the prospect of being charged with a possible crime of murder.  Even though the family and friends agrees with his right to die, his wife however does not want to accompany him to Switzerland in order for him  to die …. so ‘Martin’ is totally reliant on a carer or health professional to help him.

After deliberation, three judges have ruled that on these three cases…  Tony and Paul lost their appeal but with regards to the case of ‘Martin’ the judgement has asked for clarification from the DPP as to whether health professionals and carers would be unlikely to face prosecution.  The current DPP guidelines makes clear that friends or family members are unlikely to be prosecuted.

According to the Daily Mail, The Crown Prosecution Service said they will seek the views of the Supreme Court before clarifying the law.

Keir Starmer, QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said:

‘While I respect the carefully considered judgment of the Court of Appeal, I think it would be sensible for the CPS, if possible, to have the benefit of the views of the Supreme Court before any amendments are made to the DPP’s Guidelines in this important and sensitive area of the law.’

RIchard Stein, a partner in the law firm that represented ‘Martin’ said:

‘This is a crucial victory for Martin and those other people who find themselves in this tragic position.

‘He is unable to do anything for himself and without a willing family member or friend he requires assistance from a professional to be able to end his own life.

‘This case has been all about giving people the choice to decide when and how they can end their own life. This is a right all able-bodied people have but is denied to Martin because of his condition.

‘This is a hugely significant moment in allowing people control. They will be able to seek help from people with no personal connection to them but acting in good faith – most likely to be carers or health professionals – to be able to die with dignity in a manner and at a time of their choosing.’

Debbie Purdy who has campaigned for years for the Right to Die, expresses why she thinks it was right for the Judges to reject the appeal with regards to Lamb and Nicklinson.

I can see both sides of the story.. I think there should be a debate on assisted dying.. and I think it is time that we allowed those who wish to take their lives due to terminal illness, to make their own decisions.  Although I can see where Tony and Paul are coming from.. I do think until the whole issue is debated and ruled upon legally, and euthanasia is allowed in this country, then and only then can the clear guidelines be drawn as to who can administer a lethal cocktail of barbiturates, in order to end someone’s life.

How I look on this if you allowed your pet dog, to suffer you would be charged with cruelty to an animal… so why do we allow humans to suffer, especially when that human being knows in their own mind that they can’t go on no longer and they want an end to the life they are not living?..  They may be alive but not in the true sense of the word.. they are trapped in a body that has failed them and a living a life that has no quality whatsoever.

When we die and how we die.. should be our own decision.. and not the decision of some bureaucrat or do gooder sitting there in full health making decisions that they know nothing about… They don’t know what is it like to be so reliant on others for your care… they don’t know how you have no quality of life and they don’t know how you feel.

Let us, have a proper debate on this subject… with the intention of allowing those who wish to die by assisted suicide being allowed to, whilst protecting the vulnerable.

Final Report – Lord Faulkner – Assisted Suicide


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