Peter Faris, QC, writes:
As The Age reports today, Melbourne woman Maria Korp’s legal guardian has authorised an end to her life-sustaining nutrition:
“Doctors have been authorised to stop feeding
Maria Korp from today, provoking an ethical furore and opening the way
for a possible murder charge against her husband.
Korp, 50, who was choked by her husband’s mistress and left for dead in
the boot of a car parked near the Shrine of Remembrance in February, is
expected to die within a fortnight. Her husband Joe Korp, who has been
charged in connection with the case, is expected to seek court
permission to visit his wife before she dies, his solicitor said
Victorian Public Advocate Julian Gardner, who is Mrs Korp’s legal
guardian, said yesterday he had decided to authorise the cessation of
her artificial nutrition after two separate teams of doctors advised
that her condition would not improve. The representative of the state
of Victoria has decided to kill Maria Korp by starvation over the next
two weeks. I support the death penalty for some extremely serious
crimes, but only after a judge and jury trial and a proper appeal
Here, one man, the public advocate, has apparently been given the
power of life and death, of judge, jury and executioner, over Korp (and
presumably over all the persons whose lives he supervises). Her
convicted attacker will be supported in jail by the taxpayer for the
next few years and then emerge a free woman. And Maria Korp? She will
be starved to death.
If a dog had brain damage it would be put
down with an injection. Maria Korp does not even have the rights of a
dog. If the Public Executioner – oops – Advocate – wants to kill her
then he should personally put her down by injection. That will at least
save her being starved to death.
And this will raise interesting legal questions (after her death) as to whether or not Joe Korp can be charged with murder.