Judge backs locked-in syndrome man
A locked-in syndrome sufferer who wants a doctor to be able to lawfully end his life won the right today to have his case decided by the High Court.
Tony Nicklinson and his family, who live in Melksham, Wiltshire, welcomed the decision of a judge in London which meant his action can proceed.
Mr Nicklinson, 57, who sums up his life as "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable", will now have his case heard fully later this year.
In the proceedings Mr Nicklinson, who suffered a stroke in 2005 while on a business trip to Athens, is asking the High Court to grant declarations that a doctor could intervene to end his "indignity", with his consent and with him making the decision with full mental capacity, and have a "common law defence of necessity" against any murder charge.
The ruling by Mr Justice Charles followed an application by the Ministry of Justice for the case to be "struck out", arguing that what Mr Nicklinson wants the courts to do should be a matter for Parliament. But the judge allowed most of Mr Nicklinson's action to proceed, ruling that he had an "arguable" case to go before a full court.
After the ruling Mr Nicklinson's wife Jane, a former nurse, read out a statement from her husband on BBC Radio 5 Live.
It said: "I'm delighted that the issues surrounding assisted dying are to be aired in court. Politicians and others can hardly complain with the courts providing the forum for debate if the politicians continue to ignore one of the most important topics facing our society today. It's no longer acceptable for 21st century medicine to be governed by 20th century attitudes to death."
Outside court, Mr Nicklinson's solicitor Saimo Chahal welcomed the judge's decision as "very good news".
Ms Chahal, from law firm Bindmans, said information would now be obtained on "the practical steps" that would have to be taken to end Mr Nicklinson's life and put before the court.
The judge gave Mr Nicklinson the go-ahead to take his case further in judicial review proceedings in relation to two of three declarations sought. He said the underlying issues in the case "raise questions that have great social, ethical and religious significance and they are questions on which widely differing beliefs and views are held, often strongly".