13 Sep 2012

Man who helped wife die walks free

8:31 pm on 13 September 2012

An Auckland man who aided his chronically-ill wife to commit suicide broke down in tears on Thursday after being discharged without conviction.

Evans Mott, 61, admitted in May this year to helping Rosie Mott take her own life, following her four-year struggle with a severe form of multiple sclerosis.

Mrs Mott killed herself on 28 December last year using apparatus that her husband of 24 years had helped assemble.

Mr Mott's lawyer told the Auckland High Court his client had been a strong, loyal, supportive husband and was simply carrying out his wife's wishes and no punishment imposed by the court would compare to the pain of his loss.

He argued for the discharge on the basis that Mr Mott would be inhibited in his profession as a boatbuilder if he had a conviction.

Justice Courtney said Rosie Mott was affected by a dreadful disease, was in pain and would have taken her own life by some means if Mr Mott had not agreed to help her.

The judge agreed that a conviction could stop Mr Mott working in other countries in his trade. She said those potential consequences outweighed the gravity of offending and, on that basis, discharged him without conviction.

"You acted out of love and your motivation was to support your wife in the decision she made. You were open and fully cooperative with the police. You entered a guilt plea early on; there's no appreciable risk of you re-offending."

Outside court, Mr Mott said he was not expecting the decision and common sense had prevailed.

"I think it's a miracle ... it's so good that New Zealand has got the vision to say what's right and wrong."

He hoped the decision to set him free paves the way for other people fighting for the right to die.