I spent the day at the High Court today, listening to the applicants to intervene in my wife’s hearing. The applicants were the Care Alliance, the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, and the Human Rights Commission. It was my first time in a courtroom since a school visit to a district court in my youth. I don’t share my wife’s fondness for them!
The applicants claimed they had evidence that they could present in addition to that presented by the plaintiff and the defendant. From my naive point of view, the question that didn’t seem to get answered was: if the evidence is relevant, why can’t they lobby the plaintiff or defendant to include their evidence and let those two counsel present it to the judge themselves? None of the applicants really had an answer to that, to my mind, other than claiming they would be able to represent those views better. It was hard to see how, particularly with some of the intervening solicitors presenting what seemed to me quite muddled perspectives and a deluded view of the scope of the case. Besides, if there is expert evidence that should be heard, that can be channeled through the two counsel via affidavits. Even I can see that a five-headed hydra of counsels would be awful and unmanageable. And if the length of time it took the applicants to make their cases today is any indication, it would draw things out mercilessly.
I respect that all of these parties have plenty to say on the issue, but that belongs in the realm of public debate. Nothing I heard in the court today suggested to me that they would add anything to Lecretia’s particular case except complexity. These people have agendas, and they don’t belong in the courtroom, arguing over my wife’s fate, which is all that this case is about.
What angers me is that my wife faces a long, drawn-out, undignified death, and these applicants, if admitted, will almost certainly subject my wife to a long, drawn-out and uncomfortable trial. She doesn’t have time for that.
The judge will make a decision by Friday as to whether the applicants will be permitted to intervene. I really hope he will agree to keep the scope of the case to my wife’s plea, and leave the wider societal debate on assisted dying to be addressed by politicians, who should be the ones looking at the issue more broadly. Their silence is starting to appear cowardly. Their inaction is precisely why my wife has been forced to spend her precious remaining days pursuing this case through the courts. It’s time for politicians to do their job, so that people like Lecretia don’t have to take these sorts of actions.