Statement by Professor Sean Davison, President of the World Federation of Right-to-Die Societies comments on the trial of Suzy Austen in New Zealand
I am deeply saddened by the High Court trial presently underway in Wellington, New Zealand, where Suzy Austen stands accused of assisted suicide and illegally importing pentobarbitone. Suzy Austen was compassionately responding to the desperate pleas of 77 year-old Annemarie Treadwell to end to her suffering. I condemn the action of the New Zealand justice system in attempting to make a criminal out of non-criminal. If a real crime had been committed I believe the police and courts should leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators to justice, but on this occasion I feel this legal action is misdirected and a considerable waste of resources that could be better utilised. I find it particularly abhorrent that the New Zealand police used a bogus drink-driving checkpoint to deliberately target elderly ladies attending a pro-euthanasia meeting, which led to the arrest of Suzy Austen. On behalf of the World Federation of Right-to-Die Societies I wish Suzy Austen and her legal team success in this case which has put the right-to-die movement on trial.
Update of 22 feb: The defense have called no witnesses and the decision is: Suzy Austen found not guilty on the assisted suicide charge. Guilty on two charges of importing illegal drugs, to be sentenced in May.