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  1. ITV Report

Terminally ill man fighting for the right to die to learn outcome of legal fight

A man who feels "entombed" by his terminal illness is to learn the outcome of his legal fight challenging the current law on assisted dying.

Noel Conway, 67, a grandfather and retired lecturer from Shrewsbury, was diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease in November 2014.

He wants to enlist assistance from the medical profession to allow him a "peaceful and dignified" death when he has less than 6 months left to live.

The law as it stands means that anyone who helped him would be committing a criminal offence.

I am deeply disappointed by today's judgment and fully intend to appeal it. This decision denies me a real say over how and when I will die. As I approach the end of my life, I face unbearable suffering and the possibility of a traumatic, drawn out death.

– Noel Conway
Mr Conway is not expected to live beyond 12 months. Credit: ITV News Central

Mr Conway wants a declaration that the Suicide Act 1961 is incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which relates to the respect for private and family life, and Article 14, which protects from discrimination.

He 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.

The case is opposed by the Secretary of State for Justice, with Humanists UK, Care Not Killing and Not Dead Yet UK also making submissions.

James Strachan QC has said that it is inappropriate for the courts to interfere with Parliament's legitimate decision on the "sensitive moral, social and ethical issue" raised by the case.

It is the first challenge to the existing law since the case of Tony Nicklinson, who suffered from paralysis after a stroke.

That was ultimately dismissed in June 2014 by the Supreme Court, which said it was a matter for Parliament to decide.

After debates in both Houses, Parliament decided, at least for the moment, not to provide for legislative exceptions to the 1961 Act.