Sheila Tucker Quoted in Globe & Mail on Physician-Assisted Dying Case
Published: Friday, 18 November 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011 - Sheila Tucker, Associate Counsel of Davis LLP's Vancouver office, was quoted at length in the Globe & Mail regarding the high-profile assisted-dying case before the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Sheila is co-counsel for the group challenging the Canadian criminal law prohibiting assisted dying.
On November 16, 2011, a lawyer for the federal government argued that a leading American ethicist should not be allowed to testify in the case due to an alleged bias in favour of physician-assisted suicide. Sheila’s response was captured by the Globe & Mail:
But Sheila Tucker, one of a team of lawyers representing a group trying to change Canada’s laws, said Dr. Angell is an eminent medical ethicist – and her “expertise [was] recognized by Harvard Medical School when they employed her to teach their own doctors medical ethics.”
As an editor at the New England Journal of Medicine, she had kept abreast of a wide range of medical issues, and that meant she could offer the court a broad perspective, said Ms. Tucker.
“One does not become an ethicist in euthanasia or pharmaceuticals … she is an ethicist in general, which is what one would seek … as an expert,” she said.
And Ms. Tucker said the fact that Dr. Angell had formed her views on physician-assisted suicide years ago should give the court some comfort that she had not just tailored her testimony to suit the trial at hand.”
She added that Dr. Angell would not be presenting argument, but offering views formed after deep reflection.
“People who have thought long and hard about these issues have come to hold an opinion … it would be shocking if they had not,” she said.
Read the full Globe & Mail article here.
The Court reserved its decision following the November 17th hearing and on November 18th issued a decision admitting Dr. Angell's expert evidence in the trial.
The trial on the constitutional challenge before the B.C. Supreme Court began Monday the 14th and will continue until next month, with a decision anticipated some time in early 2012.
Sheila has worked on numerous high-profile, human rights cases, including Canada (Attorney General) v. PHS Community Services Society, which involved defending the existence of Insite, a safe-injection site in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. That case was heard before the Supreme Court of Canada, and proponents of the Insite facility were successful in their appeal.