Rights group wants top court to fast-track assisted-suicide case

VANCOUVER - A British Columbia-based civil rights group is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to fast-track an appeal related to physician-assisted suicide.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association wants the top court to weigh in on the constitutionality of the ban on assisted suicide, after a B.C. Supreme Court judge overturned the law, only to have it reinstated by the B.C. Court of Appeal.

The Appeal Court released a decision earlier this month that concluded a 1993 case that upheld the law was binding and that the lower court didn't have the ability to overturn it.

The civil liberties association says it has filed a notice for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as a notice to expedite the appeal process.

The group says the case is of extreme urgency to gravely ill Canadians, who will be left "hanging in the balance" until the court hears the case.

Another plaintiff, MS patient Elayne Shapray, has joined the case and has filed an affidavit in support of the association's application to have the case heard more quickly.

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