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Page last updated at 08:17 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 09:17 UK

Australian man wins right to die

Mr Rossiter's lawyer and nursing home representative react to the ruling

A court in Australia has ruled that a quadriplegic man who wants to die can tell his carers to stop feeding him.

The judge in the western city of Perth said the nursing home would not be held criminally responsible.

In a statement, Christian Rossiter said he could not perform any basic human functions and wanted to die.

The ruling sets a legal precedent in Australia, where assisting someone to take their own life can be punishable by life in prison.

Western Australia's highest judge, Wayne Martin, said the Brightwater Care Group would not be criminally responsible if it stopped feeding and hydrating Mr Rossiter.

Judge Martin said Mr Rossiter was not terminally ill or dying and was capable of making an informed decision about his treatment.

'Living hell'

"I am unable to blow my nose," Mr Rossiter said.

"I am unable to wipe the tears from my eyes," said the former stockbroker and outdoor adventurer.

He made a public plea last week to be allowed to end his life which he described as a "living hell".

"I have no fear of death - just pain. I only fear pain," he said.

Mr Rossiter is severely paralysed after separate accidents in which he fell from a building and was hit by a car while riding his bicycle.



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