The Nova Scotia Court of Appeals judge rejected a request to overturn a lower court decision that could have effectively allowed a man to die with medical help, despite attempts by his wife to stop him.
An 83-year-old man from Bridgewater, NS, was pronounced dead at the scene and was admitted for medical assistance earlier this year, but his wife, Catherine, 82, filed for injunction in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. Forced to cancel his plans.
CBC News identifies the couple only by the woman’s first name to protect their privacy and ability to access health care. Catherine has threatened to sue health care providers for helping her husband get a medically assisted death.
There is no official publication ban in this case, but the judges who ruled on it agreed to protect the couple’s identities by naming him X and Catherine as Y.
While X says he suffers from Advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and has been close for the rest of his life, he says his wife’s desire to die was not based on physical illness, but on anxiety and mental illusions. She also expressed moral opposition to MAID.
The couple have known each other for over 60 years and have been married for 48 years. After Catherine began legal efforts to stop her husband from accessing MAID, her husband moved out of their partner home and the couple stopped talking.
Last week, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeals heard arguments from both sides over whether the Nova Scotia Supreme Court should set aside the previous decision, dismissing its injunction.
In a written decision released Friday afternoon, Justice Elizabeth van den Einden condemned Catherine’s decision to set aside the Supreme Court’s ruling. In doing so, she cleared the legal barriers that prevented X from accessing medically assisted death.
The case is set to go to trial on Sept. 24.
Catherine’s lawyers found last week that if her husband had to go ahead with the MAID policy before then, it would be an appeal moot. This was one of their arguments for an interim injunction extension.
Van den Einden agreed in her decision that she could continue with the X MAID before the appeal, however, like the Supreme Court judge who ruled on her previous case, she found that with balance, the man would suffer more if the wife’s wish was granted. It’s not.
She said there were no exceptional circumstances in the case.
“The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that medical assistance in dying is a constitutionally protected right. Parliament negotiates and approves the MAID scheme into Canadian law.
‘People at risk’
Hugh Sher, the leader of the legal team representing Catherine, told CBC News in an email that Van Den Einden’s decision “seriously questions people who endanger the arbitrary application of criminal law.”
The verdict said “a person can be killed even if there are only a few days left until the hearing on the merits of the appeal on September 24.”
Sher found conflicting medical views about X’s physical and mental health, which were recorded by the court. Lack of consensus “makes the protections and protections of the criminal law completely meaningless,” he said.
“Catherine calls on the parliament, the legislature and the courts of Nova Scotia to resolve the arbitrary and broken judicial process that allows incompetent and intentional killings by euthanasia that do not meet the basic requirements of the law.
“The Supreme Court of Canada has made it clear that the legalization of euthanasia in Canada depends entirely on Parliament’s ability to enforce reasonable security policies to protect the most vulnerable Canadians. Protecting people from harm that does not exist. “
X declined to comment on the judge’s decision.
‘Relief and gratitude’ for decision
Jocelyn Downey, a law professor at the University of Dalhousie who is a member of the Multiple Expert Panels on MAID, said she was “relieved and grateful” for the detailed decision made by Van den Einden.
“I think for everyone who sees this case as an example and is trying to see what kind of policies the courts are going to take to intervene in MAID access … it would be very useful for everyone to understand Lay Earth,” Downey said in an interview.
While a decision on the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction over any court outside the province, Downey said the decision could set a “convincing” precedent for other Canadian courts.
She denies Sher’s feature of what the case exhibits.
“[MAID] It is a legitimate health service and describes killing someone as incendiary and inflammatory. ”
She said van den Einden was “absolutely right” in recognizing the case as a constitutionally protected right in the broader context of MAID.
“A man is waiting to exercise his constitutional rights,” Downey said. “And these policy moves are creating an obstacle for him to exercise his constitutional, his constitutional right.”
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