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Disability advocates: lax prosecution policy for assisted suicide “leaves vulnerable people at risk”

by | Jan 19, 2017

Editor’s note. This comes from SPUC–the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children–and is reposted with permission.

Merv and Nikki Kenward

Merv and Nikki Kenward

Disability rights campaigners are to ask the Court of Appeal to examine whether the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) acted lawfully in changing prosecution policy in cases of assisted dying.

Merv and Nikki Kenward are seeking permission to appeal a High Court ruling made in December 2015. The couple challenged the DPP Alison Saunders’ amending of the prosecution policy for assisted suicide in 2014, but the case was thrown out. [According to Care Not Killing, Saunders “revised her prosecution policy so that doctors can now be involved in assisting suicide with almost no fear of prosecution, provided they don’t have a professional relationship with those they ‘help.’”]

Now, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, they are seeking permission to appeal that ruling.

Left almost completely paralysed

Mrs. Kenward contracted Guillain-Barrė syndrome in 1990 and was left almost completely paralysed for five months, able only to blink her right eye. She recovered from her illness, but is confined to a wheelchair.

Doctors less likely to be prosecuted

Mr. and Mrs. Kenward believe that the change in wording makes it less likely that healthcare professionals will be prosecuted for assisting suicide, a decision she describes as “bizarre” and as one which “leaves vulnerable people at risk from dodgy [unreliable] doctors.”

Mrs. Kenward said, “On behalf of the disabled, elderly, terminally ill and others who are vulnerable, we will continue the fight for a reversal of this deceptive and dangerous liberalisation of prosecution policy.”

Categories: Assisted Suicide