Husband of Savita to take case to Europe


Legal action:The husband of the late Savita Halappanavar is to take a case to the European Court of Human Rights in relation to her death.

Praveen Halappanavar has instructed his solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell, to draw up the papers to take the case under article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to life. He hopes it will result in a full and proper inquiry into his wife’s death.

Article 2 states: “Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law.”

Article 6 says everyone is entitled to a “fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law” in the determination of their civil rights.

He had set close of business yesterday as the deadline for the Government to institute a sworn, public inquiry into his 31-year-old wife’s death at Galway University Hospital on October 28th.

She had presented a week earlier on October 21st with back pain at the hospital’s maternity unit. She had been 17 weeks pregnant and was found to be miscarrying.

Mr Halappanavar has said she asked repeatedly for the pregnancy to be terminated given she was miscarrying but was refused, he says, as the foetal heartbeat was still present and was told “this is a Catholic country”.

An autopsy carried out by Dr Grace Callagy found she died of septicaemia “documented ante-mortem” and E.coli ESBL.

Mr O’Donnell said yesterday he and his client had had offers of support from women’s and human rights groups across the world in his move to take the case to the European court.

“I am identifying a team of junior and senior counsel. I expect to sit down with them and my client early next week to draw up papers to submit to the European court. We have had a lot of offers from international organisations, women’s and human rights, to support us in this.”

He had had an acknowledgment from the office of the Minister for Health, James Reilly, to his letter sent on Monday calling for a public inquiry. “They said they were ‘looking at’ the request.”

Mr Halappanavar has said the two inquiries established into his wife’s death did not satisfy him or her family.

The first was established by the HSE while a second has been established by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa). Both will be held in private.