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Shropshire couple win permission to bring challenge over relaxation of law on assisted suicide

South Shropshire | News | Published:

A couple from Shropshire have won permission to bring a legal challenge against the Director of Public Prosecutions over plans to relax laws on assisted suicide.

Nikki and Merv Kenward, from Aston on Clun, have launched legal action against Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General over the DPP's current prosecution policy in relation to the law on assisted suicide.

The Suicide Act 1961 makes it a criminal offence to assist or encourage suicide. The DPP has a discretion on whether to prosecute according to the published policy.

Last October, the DPP amended the policy, making the prosecution of healthcare professionals in assisted suicide cases less likely.

Today Mr and Mrs Kenward were given permission to challenge the DPP's actions, arguing that the DPP had in fact "changed" the policy and made it more "liberal".

They argue that the significance and legality of the change should now be properly assessed.

Mrs Kenward says the DPP's actions are "unconstitutional".

The 62-year-old was once so paralysed she could only wink her right eye.

A former theatre manager, she was struck down by Guillian-Barre syndrome in 1990. Her son, Alfie, was then just one.

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Mrs Kenward was initially fully paralysed for more than five months, and has been in a wheelchair since. She cannot tie her laces or hold a needle.

She and her husband campaign against euthanasia and assisted suicide through the Distant Voices campaign group.

She said: "The message from these new guidelines is that society thinks you are in the way. The best thing you can do is to agree to die."

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