No guidance will be issued on assisted suicide

Former HSS Treasurer Gordon Ross assisted suicide news

A Judicial Review launched by former HSS Treasurer Gordon Ross to ask for prosecution guidance from the Lord Advocate has been rejected.

Former HSS Treasurer Gordon Ross assisted suicide news

Responding to the rejection of his Judicial Review today by Lord Doherty which would have compelled the Lord Advocate to clarify the law on assisted suicide, Gordon Ross said:

“I am bitterly disappointed by the decision today by Lord Doherty not to take the opportunity to clarify the current law on assisted suicide in Scotland, described recently by 21 legal academics as ‘shameful’. By taking this decision, the Court has lessened the protections that those with disabilities enjoy in our society and made us more vulnerable.”

“I have no wish to end my own life and hope I never do reach that point. However, this decision will mean that, if someone has a degenerative condition which might lead them to one day lose the ability to take their own life, they may now choose to do so earlier whilst they still have the capacity rather than put a friend or family member at risk of prosecution by waiting until they might require assistance.”

“Far from reducing the tragic number of instances of suicide amongst those with terminal conditions, estimated at around one per week in Scotland, this decision could drive people in my position to end their own lives at the very time when they need all the support they can get to help them manage and cope with their condition.”

“I would like to thank my legal team, as well as my family and friends for their steadfast support whilst my case has been heard. I will be consulting with all of them over the next few days but my current intention is to take this fight to the highest legal authority I can in order to protect my own rights, the rights of those currently in similar circumstances, as well as any amongst us who might find themselves in such a position in the future.”

Gordon Ross brought the Judicial Review to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, asking them to compel the Lord Advocate to issues guidelines to Prosecutors to provide greater clarity of what charges might be brought an individual who assists someone who is terminally ill and unable to take their own life to commit suicide.

Responding to the decision by Lord Doherty, Gordon MacRae HSS Chief Executive said:

“This is a very disappointing result. Not just for Gordon, but for others in Scotland.

“It is highly unusual that prosecution guidance exists for compassionate acts of assisted dying in England ad Wales, but not Scotland.

“Humanist Society Scotland remains committed to the principle of choice, and will continue to work with other partners to secure a change in the existing law.”


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