Terminally ill man loses bid to bring High Court challenge over assisted dying

A terminally ill motor neurone disease sufferer’s bid to bring a fresh legal challenge against the “blanket ban” on assisted dying has been rejected by High Court judges.

Phil Newby, 49, from Rutland, East Midlands, was diagnosed with MND in 2014 and is no longer able to walk or use his hands and lower arms.

The married father-of-two brought legal action against the Government over the law, which makes it a criminal offence for anyone to help another person end their life.

Mr Newby’s case was that judges should thoroughly examine a large amount of expert evidence – including from countries where assisted dying is legal – before deciding whether the law is incompatible with his human rights.

But, refusing permission for his case to go ahead, Lord Justice Irwin and Mrs Justice May said the court is “not an appropriate forum for the discussion of the sanctity of life”.

His lawyers told a hearing in London in October that Mr Newby is facing an “inhumane and intolerable” deterioration as his illness progresses.

Mr Newby, a former director of environmental firm Green Ventures, had sought a declaration that the law as it stands is incompatible with his human rights.

His case is the latest in a series of challenges where the courts have been asked to consider the matter of assisted dying.

The most recent legal action was brought by MND sufferer Noel Conway, whose bid to appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected in November last year.

Mr Newby’s lawyers said he will appeal against the High Court’s decision.