24 May 2015

Overseas precedent for 'right to die'

9:45 pm on 24 May 2015

A law professor says there is a strong overseas precedent for a ruling in favour of the terminally ill Wellington woman fighting for the right to die with her doctor's help.

Lecretia Seales

Lecretia Seales Photo: SUPPLIED

Lecretia Seales, who has brain cancer, is seeking a ruling in the High Court to ensure her doctor would not face charges if she helped her take a lethal dose of drugs.

The University of Otago law professor, Andrew Geddis, said rulings in Canada and South Africa could act as precedents in Ms Seales' favour.

Professor Geddis said overseas rulings could help the case go in Ms Seales' favour.

"Whatever outcome there is in this particular act, Parliament will have to act, even if Miss Seales were to lose, I think it's almost certain the court is going to say she does have a right to this, it's just there's nothing it can do to help her."

Professor Geddis said regardless of the outcome of the case, Parliament would need to review legislation on the rights of the terminally ill.

The case starts on Monday.

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