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Nicklinson 'devastated' after losing right-to-die appeal

Tony Nicklinson is distraught after losing his High Court battle for a doctor to end his life, legally, at a time of his choosing.

ITV News's Emily Morgan was with the family when they heard the news. He signalled that the news was "devasting". He communicates via his wife and a series of blinks.

The judges ruled that, however understandable the motives may be, any change to the law on assisted dying was a matter for Parliament and not the courts..

Mr Nicklinson describes his life as "pure torture - undignified and intolerable". He was left paralysed below the neck by a stroke.


Doctors 'do not support change in law' to allow assisted dying

Professor John Saunders, chairman of the Royal College of Physicians ethics committee, said:

The Royal College of Physicians does not support a change in the law on assisted dying.

It remains illegal for doctors to intentionally and deliberately terminate the life of someone who is not terminally ill.

A survey of RCP fellows and members in 2006 showed that doctors were not in favour of a change in the law to allow them to do this.A change in the law would also have severe implications for the way society views disabled people.

Lawyer: 'Brave Nicklinson case needs public support for law to be changed'

Lawyer Yogi Amin, from Irwin Mitchell, said it was up to Parliament to decide the next steps. He said that, "the law on this sensitive and emotive issue is very clear at present - physician-assisted suicide is unlawful."

He added:

This brave attempt at changing the law requires some real public support before the law develops in this respect.

My thoughts are with the family as what they are going through must be a terribly hard situation to deal with.

The pro-lifers argue that 'sanctity of life' as a principle should not be watered down and that to create an exemption in this case may lead to a slippery slope - opening the door to many other classes of cases seeking such an exemption.

This shines a light on the tensions that exist between judge-made law and Parliament, both of which play a key role in our country's unique constitution.

It is clear that there is still plenty to be decided on this law, but the courts have now made it clear that it is for Parliament to decide the next steps.

Pro-life campaigners welcome Nicklinson ruling

Pro-life campaigners have welcomed the judges' decision to reject the challenge by two locked-in syndrome sufferers for the legal right to end their life with the help of a doctor.

We welcome the High Court's ruling and we question whether those who have encouraged Mr Nicklinson and 'Martin' to pursue this legal action have the best interests of disabled people at heart.

To legalise killing of those who are suffering would adversely affect many, many people.

We believe that Mr Nicklinson and 'Martin' have lives of equal value to any other member of society.

We urge those around them to rise to the challenge of helping them realise their value and overcome their sense of hopelessness.

We trust that today's judgement will help end the insidious campaign in the British courts to change the law on assisted suicide and euthanasia.

– Paul Tully, general secretary of SPUC Pro-Life


Nicklinson right to die case: What next?

Saimo Chahal, a partner with Mr Nicklinson's solicitors Bindmans LLP, said the next stage of the case would be to prepare an application to appeal against the decision.

She said she would be asking for the case to be expedited so that it can be heard by the Court of Appeal as soon as possible.

Ms Chahal added that Mr Nicklinson's health had deteriorated recently and he was in a great deal of physical pain and discomfort.

She confirmed that he was not prepared to give up his fight to establish the principle of being able to die with dignity when he chooses.

Second locked-in syndrome sufferer left 'even more angry and frustrated'

The second man whose right-to-die case was heard by the High Court, referred to as "Martin", 47, has responded to losing his challenge to the legal ban on assisted dying:

I feel even more angry and frustrated now having had this court tell me that I cannot receive professional help to take control of how I might end my own life. My life following my stroke is undignified, distressing and intolerable. I wish to be able to exercise the freedom which everyone else would have - to decide how to end this constant tortuous situation.

– "Martin"

Tony Nicklinson to appeal High Court right to die verdict

Paul Bowen QC, representing Mr Nicklinson, confirmed - as expected - an appeal will be made after the High Court denied his right to have a doctor end his life.

Tony Nicklinson: Verdict leaves 'misery, mental anguish'

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