Campaigners At Right To Die Hearing

Campaigners will gather at court today to support a disabled grandfather's plea for the right to die.

Gordon Ross, 66, who lives in a Glasgow care home, is seeking guidance on whether any person who helped him end his life would face prosecution.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh will consider his case at a hearing today.

Campaigners from Friends at the End (FATE) are expected to meet in Parliament Square to show their support for Mr Ross, whose condition means he will not attend court himself.

The former television producer suffers from several medical conditions including Parkinson's disease and the loss of sensation in his arms and legs.

He said he does not want to die now but fears that should a time come when he has "had enough'', he will not be capable of ending his life without help.

Mr Ross and members of FATE are calling on the Lord Advocate to issue guidance to clarify whether anyone assisting him would be charged with an offence.

It follows several high profile cases in England including that of Tony Nicklinson, who fought for the right to legally end his life after being paralysed by a stroke.

Mr Ross said: "I believe that, as a disabled person, I am currently being discriminated against. Anyone else, in any circumstances, can choose to end their own lives at any time.

"Because of my disability that is something I am unable to do. I do not wish to end my life, I want it to go on as long as I can.

"However, if my condition deteriorates to the point that I do want to take that action, I want to know what action the law might take were someone to assist me.

"The present legal situation actually encourages suicide amongst those with conditions such as mine and means people might choose to take their own life before they would otherwise want to because they know they won't be able to in future.

"Ending life early in such circumstances is tragic and the law should not be putting up barriers to prevent people from living longer.

"I hope the court will consider this and compel the Lord Advocate to issue guidance, as exists in England, as to what support can or cannot be given to people in situations such as mine.''

Bob Scott from FATE said: "Gordon is severely disabled and needs help with the simplest of tasks most of us take for granted.

"He has the full support of his family and friends who, although they want him to live as long as possible, understand how life could become unbearable for him in the future.''

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