High Court throws out “suicide aid” case

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 27 October 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:953
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
  1. BMJ

    A terminally ill woman with motor neurone disease lost her battle in the High Court in London last week for the right to “die with dignity” at a time of her own choosing and with her husband's help.

    Diane Pretty, who may have only weeks to live, vowed to take her case to the House of Lords after three senior judges turned down her plea, ruling that public opinion in the United Kingdom was not yet ready to legalise assisted suicide.

    Lawyers for Mrs Pretty, aged 42, had written to the director of public prosecutions, David Calvert-Smith, asking him to undertake not to prosecute her husband, Brian, if he helped her to kill herself. Although suicide is no longer a crime in the United Kingdom, …

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