Right-to-die activist opts for house arrest
Right-to-die activist Sean Davison made a plea and sentencing agreement yesterday which means he will not go on trial for three murders. The agreement, which entails three years of house arrest for the University of the Western Cape (UWC) academic, was approved by Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe, reports TimesLIVE.
Davison was also sentenced to eight years' imprisonment, which was suspended for five years. The conditions of his house arrest mean he will be allowed to leave home to go to work, church and the doctor.
Davison was arrested in April 2018 in connection with the death in 2013 of Anrich Burger, a quadriplegic. A second charge of murder was later added in connection with the death of Justin Varian, who had motor-neuron disease. When Davison appeared in Cape Town Magistrate's Court on 29 April he was charged with a third murder, for allegedly 'administering a lethal amount of drugs' to Richard Holland in 2015.
Davison, a professor in UWC's biotechnology department, shot to prominence when he was charged in New Zealand with murder after helping his terminally ill 85-year-old mother, Patricia, die in 2006. He entered a plea bargain whereby he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assisted suicide.
He was sentenced to five months' detention, which he served under house arrest.
Davison (58) says he accepted a plea deal because the stakes were too high, notes a News24 report. His organisation Dignity SA released a statement yesterday in which he said:
‘I know there will be many people disappointed that I accepted a plea bargain, and did not go to trial. If I had done this I may have been found not guilty, and thereby lead to a law change. However, I was facing three life sentences in prison and the stakes were too high. I have three young children and my children want a father not a martyr.’
The UWC said that his three murder convictions would be considered by management. It noted the university was bound by the parameters of its human resources (HR) policies and labour laws.
‘Any decisions about this matter will be taken by the executive management in consultation with the university's HR and legal services.’
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