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New Zealand votes to legalise euthanasia - what does this mean for Sean Davison?

30 October 2020 5:53 PM
Tags:
New Zealand
Euthanasia
Right to die
DIGNITY SOUTH AFRICA
assisted dying
Willem Landman
Sean Davison

The Afternoon Drive gets comment from Prof. Willem Landman, the co-founder along with Davison of Dignity South Africa.

New Zealanders have voted in favour of legalising euthanasia for people with a terminal illness.

Eligible voters had the chance to answer the referendum question on the October general election ballot paper.

(A majority said 'no' to legalising cannabis.)

Preliminary results announced by the electoral commission saw 65.2% in favour of legalising euthanasia.

On Afternoon Drive, Mike Wills interviews Professor Willem Landman, a co-founder of advocacy group Dignity South Africa.

RELATED: Man thanks right-to-die activist Sean Davison for helping cousin take own life

Landman's first thought was for Dignity SA fellow-founder Professor Sean Davison, a New Zealand-born South African.

FILE: Sean Davison. Image: EWN

The activist spent years under house arrest in New Zealand, where he helped his terminally ill mother to die.

In South Africa, he was also placed under house arrest after pleading guilty to the murders of three people he'd helped to die at their own request.

I hope Sean Davison asked for a review of his case in view of what has happened because he was criminally charged in New Zealand for assisting his mother to die.

Prof. Willem Landman, Co-founder - Dignity South Africa

Professor Landman says in South Africa there's a tension between our common law and the Constitution in which the enshrined rights seem to be pointing clearly towards assisted dying being legal.

He cites the 2015 case of cancer sufferer Robert James Stransham-Ford, who died just hours before the judge granted his application for assisted dying.

We have a situation where a judge in northern Gauteng Supreme Court gave permission to Stransham-Ford, the applicant, to be assisted with dying - in other words any medical professional who assisted him would not have been criminally liable.

Prof. Willem Landman, Co-founder - Dignity South Africa

That was taken on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal... by the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Health and the appeal was upheld, in other words they overturned the Stransham-Ford decision.

Prof. Willem Landman, Co-founder - Dignity South Africa

It's very interesting what the judges said. They said that if a case comes before them where all the arguments are put on the table... it's not simply a request for one specific person, then the law may very well change.

Prof. Willem Landman, Co-founder - Dignity South Africa

The court said it would refer the whole question to Parliament and say 'there is this tension and you must resolve it'.

Prof. Willem Landman, Co-founder - Dignity South Africa

Listen to Landman discuss the forms assisted dying can take and the situation in the rest of the world:


30 October 2020 5:53 PM
Tags:
New Zealand
Euthanasia
Right to die
DIGNITY SOUTH AFRICA
assisted dying
Willem Landman
Sean Davison

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