Rutland dad launches assisted dying legal challenge

  Posted: 10.07.19 at 16:59 by The Editor

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Phil Newby, a 48-year-old father of two with motor neurone disease, has today (Weds) issued his full claim to the High Court to review the law on assisted dying.

The legal challenge differs from the cases that have gone before by asking the High Court Judges to review and balance expert evidence for-and-against assisted dying in much greater depth than the English courts have ever considered previously.

Mr Newby, who moved to Rutland from Stamford in 2007, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease when he was just 43.

He is now unable to walk, use his hands or lower arms, but can still talk and his mental capacity is unchanged.

He said: “Today I am launching my legal challenge to the current law with its cruel blanket ban on assisted dying.

"By bringing this case I’m laying down the gauntlet, asking our most senior judges to examine the evidence on assisted dying in detail.

“I am hugely thankful to everyone who has helped me get this far.

"I need your help to keep going to the next stage, which is likely to be an oral hearing for permission.

"Many of those who have donated to support the case have direct experience of our outdated and cruel law.

"Reading the comments of supporters on CrowdJustice is both heart-breaking and stirring.

"Like me, some are staring into a bleak future where no choice exists for a dignified death.

"Others are the traumatised loved ones of terminally ill people who felt they had no option but to end their own lives.

“I sincerely hope that I can have a full and proper hearing to consider all the issues and that this will be another important step towards changing the law.”

Mr Newby's crowdsourcing appeal to raise legal funds took just five days to hit an initial £20,000 target and is already nearing £30,000.

Assisted dying in England and Wales is outlawed under the Suicide Act 1961.

He is campaigning for the right to decide when his life is 'no longer bearable' and to end it with dignity.

Currently, he say his options are 'to starve, suffocate, or face the trauma of trying to end my own life'.

The proposed court case follows a similar approach to that used in the case of Carter v Canada, where the judge examined evidence, called and cross-examined expert witnesses. This case directly lead to Canada legalising medical assistance in dying in 2016.

Financial support from the public is vital to cover legal costs and court fees.

To support Mr Newby's campaign and contribute to the fundraising appeal click on the red button below.

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