Philip Havers QC is representing “Martin” in his challenge against the refusal of the DPP to clarify the circumstances in which he will prosecute professional helpers in “right to die” cases.
“Martin” suffered a stroke in 2008 which left him paralysed and able only to move his eyes. He has decided to end his life but needs help to do so. Unlike almost every other person in his position, however, he has no family or friends available or prepared to assist him and thus needs the help of professional carers or doctors. Whereas under the DPP’s guidance, it is clear that family or friends who assist someone to commit suicide out of compassion will not be prosecuted for the offence of assisted suicide, Martin argues that the position with regard to professional carers or doctors is wholly unclear. The Divisional Court rejected his claim for judicial review of the DPP’s refusal to amend his guidance so as to provide additional clarity. The case was linked to that of Tony Nicklinson, who passed away at the end of 2012.