PARALYSED leeds builder Paul Lamb was due to take his “right-to-die” battle to the UK’s highest court today.
Mr Lamb, of Bramley, is immobile except for limited movement in his right hand and has been in significant pain since his accident in 1990. He wants a doctor to help him die in a dignified way.
Dad-of-two Mr Lamb has taken his case to be heard by nine Supreme Court justices in London. He will be joined by the widow of locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson, who died in August 2012 after losing a High Court battle to end his life with a doctor’s help.
The pair want to give people who are physically unable to end their own lives the choice of a “dignified and humane” death and they pledged not to give up after suffering the defeat in July when appeal judges dismissed their challenges over the legal ban on voluntary euthanasia. Following the ruling Mr lamb said: “No retreat, no surrender, is my motto with all of this.”
In the July hearing the then Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge said the law ‘relating to assisting suicide cannot be changed by judicial decision’.
He said parliament ‘represents the conscience of the nation in life and death issues’, adding: “Judges, however eminent, do not.
“Our responsibility is to discover the relevant legal principles, and apply the law as we find it.”
It was submitted on Mr Lamb’s behalf that “the time has now come when the common law should provide a defence to murder where that takes the form of euthanasia”.
During the appeal hearing Paul Bowen QC, for Mrs Nicklinson and Mr Lamb, said that for those who have “made a competent choice to end their lives, but who cannot physically act upon that choice without medical assistance, such as Tony Nicklinson before he died and Paul Lamb, the law of murder and assisted suicide constitute, for practical purposes, an insurmountable obstacle.”
Father-of-two Mr Nicklinson, 58, died at home in Melksham, Wiltshire, a week after he lost his High Court action.
Mr Nicklinson, who was paralysed by a stroke while on a business trip to Athens in 2005, had refused food and contracted pneumonia after he was “devastated” by the decision of Lord Justice Toulson, Mr Justice Royce and Mrs Justice Macur.