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Supreme Court to deliver verdict in ‘right to die’ case next week

The court will deliver a verdict in the case of Marie Fleming who is seeking to overturn the ban on assisted suicide.

Marie Fleming leaving the Four Courts in Dublin earlier this year
Marie Fleming leaving the Four Courts in Dublin earlier this year
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE SUPREME COURT is to deliver its verdict in the case of Marie Fleming, who is seeking to overturn Ireland’s laws on ending one’s own life with the help of another person, next Monday.

The case is listed for judgement at 10.30am on Monday morning before the seven Supreme Court justices who will rule on the 59-year-old former UCD lecturer’s appeal of the High Court’s rejection of her challenge to the ban on assisted suicide in Ireland.

Fleming took her case to the highest court in the State in February arguing that the parts of the law which make it an offence to assist in a suicide are unconstitutional and breach the European Convention on Human Rights.

Her argument centres on her belief that the ban on assisted suicide is discriminatory in that an able-bodied person may take their own life lawfully but she cannot be helped to do the same.

She has also sought an order that would compel the Director of Public Prosecutions to make it clear in which situations it would charge people for the crime of assisted suicide and whether there is any discretion in deciding to go ahead with a prosecution.

Fleming, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, has sought to ensure her partner would not be prosecuted if he were to help end her life.

The High Court ruled in January that there was a “profound difference” between the law permitting an adult to take their own life and the sanctioning of another person to assist that adult in taking their own life.

Column: Legal clarity needed after Marie Fleming ‘right to die’ verdict

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Hugh O'Connell

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