Home detention for scientist who assisted suicide

Sean DavisonSean Davison, a scientist based  in South Africa has been given a five months home detention by a court in New Zealand, who helped his mother to die has been given five months’ home detention by a court in New Zealand. The forensic specialist himself admitted that he gave his 85-year-old mother a drink laced with morphine in 2006.

However, Judges in the city of Dunedin stated he had acted out of compassion and love and not for personal gain. But Davison told to the media that the sentence was unjust and he should never have been prosecuted by saying that, this trial was not about justice, it was about getting a conviction at all costs. I feel the law should be about humanity.

Though he was initially charged with attempted murder, the offence was later downgraded to counseling and procuring suicide.

High Court judge Christine French described him as an exceptionally devoted and loving son. She said the 50-year-old knew he was committing a crime, but the offence was “at the lower end of the scale”.”Although in my view there was significant premeditation, you acted out of compassion and love and not for any personal gain,” she said.

Davison got charged by the authorities after he wrote about his experiences in nursing his mother through the final months of her life, and he also stated that she begged him to help her die which he couldn’t refuse.

The decision of the court also got influenced by the fact that he has received a character reference from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who described him as an upright citizen who has made a contribution to society and has much more to offer. Davison works as a forensic specialist at the University of the Western Cape, and has used DNA testing to identify the remains of activists killed and dumped in anonymous graves by authorities during the apartheid era.

He returned from South Africa voluntarily to stand trial, and will spend his home detention in New Zealand.

Report by Indrani Chowdury