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.