Assisisted suicide ruling postponed

2015-04-29 17:39

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Pretoria – The High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday postponed ruling on a bid by a terminally ill man to have a doctor help him commit suicide.

Judge Hans Fabricius postponed the urgent application until 10:00 on Thursday.

Lesego Montsho, SC, for the justice minister, wanted time to confer with officials on a draft order the parties to the matter were considering.

It would, if granted, allow a doctor to help former advocate Robin Stransham-Ford, 65, die without the medical practitioner risking prosecution.

Stransham-Ford is dying of prostate cancer and wants the court to declare it legal for a doctor to help him end his life.

Dignity SA is supporting his application.

The justice ministry, Doctors for Life, Cause for Justice, and the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) are the respondents opposing Stransham-Ford’s application.

“The applicant is entitled to be assisted by a medical practitioner, either by the administration of a lethal agent, or by providing the applicant with the necessary lethal agent to administer himself,” reads the draft order.  

“Any doctor who accedes to the request of the applicant shall not be acting unlawfully and hence shall not be subject to prosecution by the fourth respondent [National Director of Public Prosecutions] or disciplinary proceedings by the third respondent [HPCSA].”

As this was read to the court, Montsho rose and asked for a postponement.

Read more on:    robin stransham-ford  |  pretoria  |  euthanasia

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