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

17 January 2017


Nikki Kenward, a former theatre manager, came up with the idea to have a giant judge puppet at the rally outside parliament opposing the Marris assisted dying bill in 2015. Image: Not Dead Yet

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

Scroll down to see a video of Merv and Nikki explaining their case

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.

A former theatre manager, Mrs Kenward came up with the idea to have a giant judge puppet at the rally outside parliament opposing the Marris assisted dying bill in 2015.

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 doctors."

"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," Mrs Kenward said.



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Comments (2)
  • marie

    17 January 2017, 8:14pm

    I am again thankful to SPUC for making me aware of yet another issue not covered by our main press. I will be watching to see the outcome.

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  • ANN FARMER

    17 January 2017, 10:05pm

    The Kenwards are to be commended for their courageous fight against this undemocratic attempt by the CPS to change the law on assisting suicide. The CPS is supposed to uphold the law but instead is helping people to circumvent the law to kill the most vulnerable, in defiance of Parliament's veto. And the witnesses to possible crimes reported to the police cannot come forward, because they are dead. How convenient.

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