The murder trial of Sean Davison, who founded the “right to die” organisation DignitySA, was postponed to April after he made a quick appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court, reports News24. Magistrate Greg Jacobs granted the postponement to allow for Davison to consult his lawyer, and his bail of R20,000 was extended.
The report says Davison did not want to comment on the case which involves allegations of the premeditated murder of ill or incapacitated people who no longer wanted to live, and who chose to arrange their own deaths. “I am not allowed to talk about anything,” he is quoted in the report as saying.
Davison, in his late 50s, was arrested at his home in Pinelands, Cape Town, last year for the 2013 death of his friend Anrich Burger, who had become a quadriplegic after a car crash. It was reported previously that, according to the charge sheet, he had “administered a lethal amount of drugs to the quadriplegic deceased” at or near the Radisson Hotel in Granger Bay on 2 November, 2013.
The report say Davison also helped his ill mother end her life in New Zealand with a morphine injection. He served five months in detention there for assisted suicide.
The second charge is in connection with the death of Justin Varian – who had motor neuron disease – on 25 July, 2015.
The report says at his first court appearance, Davison stated in an affidavit that he had not committed a crime. “It is and has always been my contention that I have not committed any offence as alleged in this matter,” his lawyer Josua Greeff read from an affidavit. The case was postponed to 29 April.
The report says Davison has worked as a professor of biotechnology at the University of the Western Cape since 2004, heading up the forensic DNA laboratory there. He also helped the Truth and Reconciliation Commission identify the remains of anti-apartheid activists, including the Mamelodi 10, and developed a DNA kit to help identify suspects in gang rapes.
The report says he founded DignitySA to help bring an application for lawyer Robin Stransham-Ford, 65, to end his life due to his prostate cancer. Stransham-Ford died hours before a historic ruling in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, which ruled that he could be euthanised legally.News24 report