PROPOSALS on -mercy killing" contained in the Criminal Law Revision Committee's Working Paper on Offences Against the Person are strongly criticised in a memorandum to the committee by Dr Matthew Conolly, of the Royal Postgraduate School, London University.
The Home Office had asked for comments on the working paper to be sent in by today. and Dr Conolly's memorandum was issued on Sunday by the International Pro-Life Information Centre.
His memorandum states: "Two objections may be raised to the Criminal Law Cornmittee's approach to the subject of 'mercy killing.' First, it is not merciful. Life is something which is intuitively good, and instinctively clung to by virtually every person at all times. "There is no justification for the assertion that suffering can be incapable of alleviation, and therefore provide grounds for killing an individual,"
Dr Conolly expresses his second objection Ili the words: "Killing is killing is killing."
He adds: 'Our laws are fram ed with the protection of the weak and helpless in mind. If this principle is deliberately violated, where will new limits be set that can logically be defended? Who could ever establish with certainty that the motive was compassion?
"It is surely undesirable that laws should be framed to allow for such extreme situations. What lawyer needs to be reminded of' the aphorism that hard cases make had laws?"
Dr Conolly ends his memorandum: "The Incurable Patients Bill of Baroness Wootton provided a good example of the ignorance and clouded thinking of certain members of the legislature. No doctor would press on regardless with inappropriate life-supporting measure when there was no hope of independent survival.
"That is simply a question of good clinical judgment. No law is needed to protect a patient from that. Adequate drugs and techniques already exist, to relieve suffering. It has to be admitted that not all doctors are as skilled as they should be in this area, but the remedy for that is better training — not leg,alised killing,"