Hunger striking prisoner’s choice should be respected – rules High Court judge. – – Our News, Your Views

Hunger striking prisoner’s choice should be respected – rules High Court judge.


The decision of a hunger striking prisoner to reject food and medical aid should be respected by the state and authorities at the prison, Ms Justice Marie Baker has ruled.

She states the choice “which if freely made and fully informed must be respected”.

The prisoner, whose name and location cannot be identified, was on hunger strike for 50 days.

The prisoner had been protesting over the conditions of his imprisonment and during his three day hearing Ms Justice Mary Baker decided to suspend his hunger strike action.

The prisoner appeared in court looking extremely unwell and frail, yet able to walk without assistance.

He had also refused psychological and all medical aid offered to him and had stopped eating food in February. He stated that in time he could possibly refused fluids, this he told to the nurse monitoring him.

Two consultant psychiatrists examining him said the prisoner had the mental capacity to make the decision to refuse food and was aware of the risk he was putting himself in.

The prisoner also was in dispute with prison authorities over the distribution of his food, stating he feared his food would be contaminated by fellow prisoners and asked for two officers to escort him during his hour in the prison’s exercise yard.

At present he is serving a lengthy sentence for offences of assault and theft. The prisoner has spent the majority of his adult life behind bars, suffers from mental illness and substance addiction. The judge heard the prisoner in question has a long criminal record and has been in solitary confinement since 2012.

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