Lecretia Seales begins assisted suicide case

  • 24/05/2015

A terminally ill Wellington lawyer is set to begin her case to allow assisted suicide in New Zealand.

Lecretia Seales, a 42-year-old policy adviser at the Law Commission, is expected to begin her appeal to the High Court in Wellington today.

Her case aims to change an interpretation of the Crimes Act, which says it is illegal to aid or abet a person's suicide but does not define suicide, to allow doctors to help patients who are dying to die sooner.

Currently, the bill is read as outright banning doctors from assisting suicide.

Ms Seales was diagnosed with an untreatable brain tumour in 2011 and has been left paralysed on the left side of her body.

"I don't fear death. I fear what might happen to me in the lead-up to my death, but not dying itself," she told ABC in April.

"I would like to see a proper framework in place for enabling people who are terminal to seek assistance to die in a dignified manner and that would need to have safeguards around it."

As part of the case, Ms Seales's doctor, who has name suppression, wants to know if any criminal charges would be raised if she did help Ms Seales die.

On their blog, Ms Seales's husband, Matt, said she would try to attend at least part of the hearing today, but was unlikely to be present for the entire three-day proceeding.

"When it comes down to it, Lecretia's case is about a sick woman who has been failed by a history of successive governments who have refused to deal with the issue," he said.

A Bill by Labour MP Maryan Street to legalise assisted suicide was withdrawn in 2012 after not getting enough support from within the party.


source: newshub archive