New Zealand court case fuels the debate

  Sean Davidson, a New Zealand citizen who was working and living in South Africa, returned home to Dunedin to care for his sick and dying mother.  Reports suggest that, at the time, she was deliberately starving herself to death.A court case in New Zealand has sparked debate about Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide.

Sean Davidson, a New Zealand citizen who was working and living in South Africa, returned home to Dunedin to care for his sick and dying mother.  Reports suggest that, at the time, she was deliberately starving herself to death.  

Sean Davidson stood accused of killing his mother, at her request, by the deliberate injection of morphine in 2006. The details of his actions came to light after he published a book entitled:  "Before We Say Goodbye" in 2009.  More details of comments excised from his text were leaked to NZ media as the trial commenced.

On the fourth day of trial proceedings, in a surprise move, the prosecution sought to change the charge from one of Attempted Murder to a new charge of inciting and procuring his mother's attempted suicide.  Davidson subsequently pleaded guilty to this new charge.

Some media outlets were variously claiming that the charges had thus been 'downgraded' or, in one case 'dropped'.  This is not true.  The NZ Crimes Act prescribes the same range of penalties for both.

Predictably, the pro-euthanasia & assisted suicide lobby and Davidson's defence team are claiming this as something of a victory; his defence team even claiming that the penalty may be as minor as 'electronic detention'.

The sentence is yet to be handed down.

Davidson is now something of a cause celebre both in New Zealand and in South Africa where he has become an activist for the pro-euthanasia & assisted suicide lobby.

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