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Ian Brady loses bid to launch fight for choice of tribunal lawyer

Moors Murderer Ian Brady has been refused permission to launch a "totally unique" High Court fight for the right to have the lawyer of his choice representing him at a tribunal.

Brady applied for the go-ahead to challenge a bar on solicitor-advocate Robin Makin, who has represented him for more than 25 years, receiving a publicly funded contract to put his latest case before the Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT).

Mr Justice Morris, sitting in London, dismissed the application as "unarguable" and ruled that it had "no realistic prospect of success".

The serial killer, 79, who now uses the name Ian Stewart-Brady, is a patient at Ashworth Hospital on Merseyside.

Brady and Myra Hindley, who died in prison in 2002, tortured and murdered five children in the 1960s. Four of the victims were buried on Saddleworth Moor in the south Pennines.

Brady was jailed for three murders in 1966 and has been at Ashworth since 1985. He and Hindley later confessed to another two murders.

He last went before the Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) in 2013 and asked for a move to a Scottish prison so he cannot be force-fed - as he can in hospital - and where he could be allowed to die if he wishes.

His request was rejected after Ashworth medical experts said he had chronic mental illness and needed continued care in hospital.

A further review was due in September last year, but Brady refused to take part without Mr Makin.

Mr Makin is currently barred from acting as Brady's publicly funded legal representative because his solicitors' firm, E Rex Makin & Co, is not a member of the Law Society's mental health panel.

Under legal aid rules, only members are entitled to a publicly-funded contract in the mental health law category.

Brady's legal team argued before Mr Justice Morris that the Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss, has power to intervene and protect his human rights and ensure he is represented by the lawyer of his choice.

His barrister Philip Engelman argued Ms Truss had unlawfully fettered her discretion by failing to act in what the tribunal itself had described as a "totally unique" case.

But on Monday Mr Justice Morris ruled all grounds of challenge "unfounded and unarguable".

The judge said nothing in the European Convention on Human Rights or in case law "supports the proposition that in civil proceedings, in particular proceedings related to detention on the grounds of mental health, there is a right to publicly funded representation for a lawyer of choice."

The judge agreed with lawyers for the Lord Chancellor who had argued it would not be a "lawful and proper use of her power" for her to intervene.

The court has heard that Brady was reluctant to engage with the latest review, believing it was biased against him.

But he was persuaded to take part by Mr Makin after "making it clear that the only legal representative he would have was Robin Makin".

His legal team say he has been bedridden for the last couple of years or so.

They state: "It is probably fair to say that his physical condition will not improve and he is terminally ill.

"He is in very poor physical health - he suffers from emphysema and has constant oxygen and a nebuliser four times a day."

The judge refused Brady permission to appeal, but he still has the right to ask the Court of Appeal itself to consider his case.

Mr Makin said the appeal court would be asked to intervene, but i f the High Court ruling stood Brady would have no effective representation before the tribunal.

He said: "There is going to be a full-day tribunal hearing towards the end of March in which, although the tribunal said it was a totally unique situation and it would be in the interests of justice for him be represented by me as lawyer of choice, this is not going to be possible.

"The system we have now does not deliver that result. It is an unedifying situation."

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