This is somewhat unfortunate

Charlie Gard’s parents have privately expressed their concern after discovering that the lawyer appointed to represent their 11-month-old son in court heads a charity that backs assisted dying.

Victoria Butler-Cole, who speaks on Charlie’s behalf in court, is chairman of Compassion in Dying, a sister organisation to Dignity in Dying which campaigns for a change in the law to make assisted dying legal in the UK. Dignity in Dying used to be called the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

Nothing like knowing your lawyer truly believes in your case. Of course, if that were necessary then the truly guilty would never get a defence but still, unfortunate.

12 comments on “This is somewhat unfortunate

  1. Its not their lawyer. Its their kid’s, and this is definitely bad new for the parents getting their way.

  2. The lawyers prepare arguments.
    Then judge decides.
    I’d be much more worried if the judge turned out to have offed his parents in Zurich.

  3. If she had any honour she’d have refused the gig on the grounds of conflict of interest. But then she’s a lawyer, they have no morals.

  4. There’s the somewhat related story this morning of one Noel Conway who is challenging “assisted dying” laws in the UK.

    The man wants to keep on living until such a time as he is no longer able to kill himself at which point he would like somebody to be licensed to do it for him.

    As the law currently stands and has since time immemorial he can either commit suicide (which admittedly used to be a crime) while physically able or he can accept what the future has in store.

    There is far too much talk about “dignity” in these discussions as though human physicality wasn’t an endless series of indignities.

  5. Of course it depends how you spin this. They have a lawyer who passionately believes the state shouldn’t have the last say as to whether someone should live or die but instead should be left up to the person (or in this case the parents). Now if the lawyer was pushing assisted suicide as the right and best solution for anybody who wasn’t sufficiently fit then I would be very worried. But this case probably aligns well with the assisted dying campaign. If they had won a judgement saying that the state/doctors don’t have the last say in what treatment is/isn’t suitable then it would have been a precedent supporting the patients choice in dying as well.

  6. You’ll never *know* your lawyer truly believes in your case but, granted, you may be convinced of it.

    I’ve long thought Mr Jaggers had it right: “Look at the evidence, my boy”. I think that’s right. Add to it that you apply the evidence to the law. Then you advise your client on his case.

    It’s ridiculous to advise your client on the basis that you at least really, truly believe him when what matters is whether someone else will.

  7. I have to agree with The Mole on this one. Based solely on what was in the article, what I see is a lawyer who believes that life and death decisions should stay with the individual, not the state.

  8. For adults, there is always the option to die that does not need the intervention of a doctor with a syringe. I heard, not so long ago (but I may not mention the source), of a guy in hospital who decided it was really not to his family’s benefit nor his own to stay alive but didn’t know about “assisted dying” options so he starved himself to death – it took him several months as the hospital were unco-operative.

    So I think there is a wide gulf between Dignity in Dying and Charlie Gard who has NO choice

  9. I’m all for adults making their own decisions and in theory for parents to make decisions about their children, but I think there needs to be some oversight given the way some parents behave. The presumption should always be that the parents have the best interests of the child in their decision making.

    I don’t know enough about the specifics of this case but the judge and doctors have enough problems without coming under moral blackmail from religious and political leaders, and now implications that one of the lawyers can’t be trusted to give impartial advice.

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