Lord Advocate faces call for assisted suicide guidance

Lord Advocate faces call for assisted suicide guidance

A severely disabled man is going to the Court of Session in Edinburgh today in a bid to clarify the Scottish legal position regarding assisted suicide.

With the help of his solicitors at Patrick Campbell and Co., Gordon Ross, 66, is calling upon the Lord Advocate to issue guidance setting out whether any person who helps him end his life would be charge with an offence.

Gordon, a former TV producer and grandfather, suffers from several serious medical conditions including Parkinson’s disease and loss of sensation in his arms and legs. He is unable to walk and makes use of a wheelchair.

Guidelines on assisted suicide have been published in England by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), but these do not apply in Scotland.

A number of people are expected to demonstrate outside the Court of Session in support of Gordon’s case.

Gordon, who is a member of Friends At The End (FATE), said: “I believe that, as a disabled person, I am currently being discriminated against. Anyone else, in any circumstances, can choose to end their own lives at any time. Because of my disability that is something I am unable to do.

“I do not wish to end my life, I want it to go on as long as I can. However, if my condition deteriorates to the point that I do want to take that action, I want to know what action the law might were someone to assist me.

“The present legal situation actually encourages suicide amongst those with conditions such as mine and means people might choose to take their own life before they would otherwise want to because they know they won’t be able to in future. Ending life early in such circumstances is tragic and the law should not be putting up barriers to prevent people from living longer.

“I hope the Court will consider this and compel the Lord Advocate to issue guidance, as exists in England, as to what support can or cannot be given to people in situations such as mine.”

Bob Scott of Friends At The End added: “We will be demonstrating outside the court today to support Gordon Ross. He has been very clear that he has no plans to end his life and is in no way suicidal.

“Gordon is severely disabled and needs help with the simplest of tasks most of us take for granted. He is seeking clarification of Scots Law to learn if, should his circumstances deteriorate further, anyone who assisted him would face prosecution for helping him end his life.

“Gordon has the full support of his family and friends who, although they want him to live as long as possible, understand how life could become unbearable for him in the future.”

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