The family of a 14-year-old girl who took her own life after viewing disturbing material online have been granted legal aid for her inquest after an appeal.
The Ministry of Justice yesterday confirmed that Molly Russell’s family will now receive public funding to cover their legal costs and will not have to foot the bill themselves. Molly took her life days before her 15th birthday in 2017 after viewing images self-harm and suicide material on social media sites. Her father, Ian Russell said that he was delighted that the Legal Aid Agency has reconsidered their decision. ‘This decision is a weight lifted from our family and we now look ahead to a full and fearless inquest into Molly’s death,’ he added.
He had told the press he was ‘stunned’ by the LAA’s initial decision to refuse to fund the case because it would not be in the ‘wider public interest’.
‘It was too harrowing to spend long looking at the actual posts that Molly had viewed, posts that I can say with absolute certainty played a part in deepening Molly’s depression and persuading her to end her own life,’ said Ian Russell at an event in parliament earlier in the week.
Merry Varney, solicitor at Leigh Day, welcomed the decision. ‘However, it is disappointing that our clients had to go through the appeal process to get to a positive outcome and many other families are not successful in their appeals and cannot afford to bring a judicial review against the LAA.’
‘This leaves them either reliant on lawyers working for free, fundraising or having to represent themselves at their loved one’s inquest, completely unqualified and unprepared against experienced legal teams on the other side,’ Varney said.