Animals are treated better than humans, court hears

2015-04-29 13:38
Dignity SA member Patsy Schonegevel stands outside the North Gauteng High Court holding a picture of her son Craig. (Thomas Hartleb, News24)

Dignity SA member Patsy Schonegevel stands outside the North Gauteng High Court holding a picture of her son Craig. (Thomas Hartleb, News24)

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Pretoria – Animals are treated better than humans, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Wednesday in an urgent application by a terminally ill man who wants to be helped to die.

“We pride ourselves that we have this advanced Bill of Rights... but we want to remain in the dark ages,” HB Marais, for Robin Stransham-Ford, 65, told Judge Hans Fabricius.

Stransham-Ford, a former advocate, has terminal prostate cancer and has been on morphine for the past two months. He wants the court to allow him to choose the time and place of his death and needs a doctor’s help to do it.

Fabricius, who frequently interjected, agreed.

“Even a high-class racehorse worth millions of dollars is shot if it breaks a leg,” he said.

Fabricius earlier admitted Doctors for Life and Cause for Justice as friends of the court. They are opposing the application.

He also ruled that the matter was urgent.

No legislation

Arguments dealt with ethics and philosophy, but Fabricius was clearly in a hurry to get on with it.

“We can talk the whole week. The question is merely the following: In the absence of legislation, what rights does the applicant have?”

“There’s no difference in law you say...between handing over a pill, switching off a [life support] machine, or injecting you with a dose of morphine?” Fabricius asked Marais.

Marais replied yes.

Proceedings were adjourned briefly.

Dignity SA is supporting Stransham-Ford’s application.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  euthanasia  |  human rights

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