12 Feb 2018

Assisted suicide court case begins in Wellington

8:21 am on 12 February 2018

A Wellington euthanasia advocate accused of helping another woman to commit suicide will go on trial in the High Court in Wellington today.

Susan Austen leaves court after denying three charges connected with assisted suicide.

Susan Austen leaves court last year after denying three charges connected with assisted suicide. Photo: RNZ / Eric Frykberg

Susan Austen also faces two counts of importing the sedative pentobarbitone, which is a Class C controlled drug.

At her first court appearance in October 2016, Ms Austen only faced the drug charges.

However, in April last year the Crown laid the third charge, saying Ms Austen had helped Anne Marie Treadwell commit suicide.

Ms Treadwell, who was 77, died in Wellington on 6 June 2016, and was herself a euthanasia advocate.

The initial charges were laid after police targeted voluntary euthanasia supporters as they left a meeting in Lower Hutt, under the guise of conducting a breath-testing operation.

The trial is expected to run for about two weeks.

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