South Africa: Euthanasia Advocate Sean Davison Has Bail Extended After Case Postponed

Sean Davison (file photo).

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 on Tuesday.

Magistrate Greg Jacobs granted the postponement to allow for Davison to consult his lawyer, and his bail of R20 000 was extended.

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 told News24 apologetically as he waited for his name to be called.

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.

News24 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 November 2, 2013.

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 July 25, 2015.

Police are holding his South African and New Zealand passports.

'I have not committed any offence'

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 April 29.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said on the sidelines of the case that the Director of Public Prosecutions was also deciding which was the appropriate forum to hear the matter - the magistrate's, regional or high court.

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.

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.

Source: News24

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