Paralysed Leeds man Paul Lamb loses 'right to die' case

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Paul LambImage source, PA Media/Humanists UK
Image caption,
Paul Lamb needs round-the-clock care after being severely injured in a car accident in 1990

A paralysed ex-builder has lost a High Court bid to challenge the law on assisted dying.

Paul Lamb, 63, argued the current law, which bans assisted suicide under threat of up to 14 years' imprisonment, is discriminatory and breaches his human rights.

But two leading judges said his case was "unarguable" and should not proceed to a full hearing.

They said assisted dying was a matter for Parliament and not the courts.

Mr Lamb, from Leeds, was severely injured in a car accident in 1990 and has no function below his neck apart from limited movement in his right arm.

He lost a Supreme Court case in 2014 but argued opinions on assisted dying had changed since then and asked the court to consider allowing a fresh challenge to go ahead.

Image caption,
Mr Lamb has no function below his neck apart from limited movement in his right arm

He did not attend the hearing as he was in hospital but his lawyer, Philip Havers QC, told the court not being able to end his life means Mr Lamb faces "many more years of unbearable suffering".

He said: "It is important one remembers that is the consequence of the law as it stands."

Lord Justice Dingemans and Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing said the rulings in the cases of Diane Pretty, Tony Nicklinson and Noel Conway found interference with their human rights was "justified".

Media caption,
Paul Lamb: "It can be construed as torture"

Mrs Justice Laing said allowing exemptions to the law on assisted dying would remove protection of "very vulnerable people", some of whom would not wish to take their own lives but may be subjected to "pressure" to do so.

In a statement in May, Mr Lamb said he lived "in a state of constant pain" and his "suffering will inevitably become too much to bear".

Robert Ince from the campaign group My Death, My Decision, said: "We are extremely disappointed that the courts have once again failed to support the human rights of Paul and give hope to many like him who suffer intolerably."

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