Court to hear right-to-die case26/02/2013 - 07:08:51
A terminally ill woman is to take her battle for the right to die in an assisted suicide to the Supreme Court today.
Lawyers for multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferer Marie Fleming are to appeal to seven judges for her to be allowed to die peacefully at home in the arms of her partner without his facing the threat of jail.
Ms Fleming is not expected to attend the three-day Supreme Court hearing.
Judges at the High Court in Dublin ruled last month that they could not support allowing a third party to bring about the death of another.
But they agreed the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), in this of all cases, would exercise her discretion in a humane and sensitive fashion as to whether to prosecute or not.
Ms Fleming, a 59-year-old former university lecturer, had pleaded with the specially convened three-judge court to spare her a horrible death and let her be helped to die lawfully with dignity, surrounded by her family.
She was supported through the emotionally charged hearing by partner Tom Curran.
Ms Fleming was first diagnosed with MS in 1989 and is now almost immobile and fears she could choke to death.
The academic, from Arklow in Co Wicklow, had told the judges she wants to die peacefully in her own home with the people she loves, without them being left facing a maximum 14-year sentence.
In her case against Ireland, the Attorney General and DPP, the mother of two claimed section 2.2 of the Criminal Law (Suicide) Act, which renders it an offence to aide, abet, counsel or procure the suicide of another, was unconstitutional on grounds that it breached her personal rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights.
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