Saturday, April 25, 2015

Intervention in the "right to die" case

The latest release from Lecretia Seales.I suppose she would have expected attempted  intervention from various interested parties but her frustration at their being granted leave, as she runs out of 'quality' time, must be immense.

Interest Groups Intervene in Seales “Right To Die” Case

Media Release
Lecretia Seales
Friday, April 24, 2015
For Immediate Release
Interest Groups Successfully Intervene in Seales “Right To Die” Case Under Strict Conditions
The Human Rights Commission, the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand and the Care Alliance have been granted leave to intervene on a limited basis in the upcoming case of terminally ill 42-year-old New Zealand lawyer Lecretia Seales, who has petitioned the High Court to uphold her right to die at a time of her choosing with the assistance of a physician. Their intervention will give them the right to present additional evidence to the court, under strict conditions.
The news comes as Lecretia Seales is informed by her oncologist today that her latest course of chemotherapy will not be continued, as it has not been successful. Ms Seales survival expectations have been revised and notwithstanding overseas treatment options she is entering a phase of symptom management and palliative care.
Justice Collins announced his decision via written judgment in Wellington today, stating that:
“I am granting applications made by Care Alliance, The Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand (Incorporated) (Voluntary Euthanasia) and the Human Rights Commission for leave to intervene in this proceeding. In order to ensure Ms Seales is not unnecessarily burdened by the participation of the interveners, I am placing stringent conditions on the interveners’ participation in this proceeding. I am exercising my discretion to grant the applications primarily because I am satisfied that I may be assisted by the conditional participation of the interveners in reaching my decision in relation to Ms Seales’ application for declarations.”
He also stated:

“The declarations Ms Seales seeks are cast very precisely and are not intended to have a wide application. Nevertheless, the issue of whether or not a person in Ms Seales’ circumstances can be assisted to end her life, or have her health professional deliberately hasten her death raises significant legal and ethical issues that are of intense public importance.”
The conditions are designed to ensure that the interveners' participation does not cause delay. The interveners are restricted to tight timeframes and must submit their evidence on specific areas which Justice Collins has identified, and within the next two weeks. The interveners will not be permitted to cross-examine any witnesses, and will only be able to make oral submissions at the discretion of the judge, at the time of the hearing. Each intervener is also restricted to written submissions of no more than 6,000 words.
The trial date remains set for the week of May 25th.
Lecretia Seales’ historic case follows a Canadian Supreme Court decision released in February this year in which nine judges unanimously found that Canada’s prohibition against physician assisted dying infringes fundamental human rights. The judgment stated:
The prohibition denies people in this situation the right to make decisions concerning their bodily integrity and medical care.
The New Zealand case comes as a poll was released last week by Research New Zealand showing that 74% of New Zealanders support a law change allowing terminally ill patients in intolerable suffering to request assistance from doctors to end their lives. The poll was conducted over March and April 2015 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.
Seales says: “I am concerned that the applicants were successful, but pleased with the restrictions. My time is limited, and additional legal counsel and evidence that is not relevant to my circumstances risk lengthening my hearing, and the risk that I will not be alive to receive a judgment. I believe that the applicants have a right to share their points of view, but I would prefer they did not do so as part of my hearing. Nevertheless, I believe Justice Collins’ judgment is a fair one.”
“I absolutely intend to encourage a conversation about euthanasia and assisted death within New Zealand, however the courtroom is not the place for that wider debate. This case is about my circumstances and my circumstances only. The debate should be held across the road from the High Court, at the House of Parliament in the debating chamber, by our politicians, where all affected parties can be represented and have their views heard.”
“I am seeking a clarification of the law in my circumstances. On this issue my lawyers and I believe the law is unclear.”
“Should my case encourage a parliamentary review of the relevant sections of the Crimes Act or the Bill of Rights, there will be time for all interested parties, including the interveners, to be heard in full as part of the legislative process. I would welcome such a review as I believe this is a choice that should be made available to all New Zealanders who are suffering from painful, incurable illnesses, without needing to follow my example of going through the courts. And as a recent poll has shown, the public overwhelmingly agrees.”
Seales and her husband are documenting her case and her illness on her blog and Facebook page.
For health reasons, Ms Seales is not available for interviews with the media at this time.
High Court “Right To Die” Case Commences, March 21, 2015


Mark Hubbard said...

On the Judge's reasons for allowing these busy-body applicants to meddle, I'm concerned about his competency to even hear this important case.

Brendan McNeill said...

I haven't been following this case closely, but the specifics of this case to one side in essence this is a ‘quality of life’ verses a ‘sanctity of life’ debate.

The beginning of life debate was lost with abortion on demand, and now the end of life debate is in process.

If this proceeds, the next debate will be ‘who decides’ what constitutes a ‘quality life’, individuals, parents or a panel of experts?

The latter could never happen right?

Just like gay marriage.

Mark Hubbard said...

I have said before Brendan your Christian viewpoint has no place in this debate. Lecretia's case was never intended by her to be decided by the wider debate, but by several specific points of law.

I have posted why I think the decision Friday of Justice Collins has derailed Lecretia's case, and why I believe he is incompetent to hear this case. Also that this raises the issue of judicial process, vis a vis, a Christian judge, say, hearing this case would be inappropriate: are they screened for selection on such grounds.

My post here:

Mark Hubbard said...

... Ahem, didn't mean to sound quite so sharp Brendan but your comment is frustrating for two reasons:


You are trying to conflate three entirely unrelated issues - unless you have that 'bigoted' faith of yours to tie them together: euthanasia, abortion and gay marriage are three very different issues, no crossovers at all.


By doing that you are agenderising Lecretia's trial most cruelly given her now dire medical circumstances, just as the incompetent Justice Collins has allowed the tree applicants to do.

I fear justice won't be done in this case. That is as shameful as it is tragic.

Hamish said...

Good lord, your comment is deplorable Brendan.

I'm very thankful your flavour of faith and control is more and more sparely practiced in New Zealand, and is a minority.

Best of luck to Lecretia!

Donald McKenzie said...

I am with you Brendan.As a soldier in the 60's-70s I noted that we conscripted young men whose mothers never aborted them to defend a nation of people that was in the process enacting laws that essentially allowed abortion on demand.We remember the fallen today of those who died in the 'Great War". Every year we lose about the same number of potential New Zealanders at the hands of those who took the Hippocratic Oath.One day we will pay for that.
With euthanasia we only need to learn the from the the experience of the Dutch, There are always unintended consequences once we begin intervening with nature.
If you want to end your life then do it yourself. There are plenty of ways of doing it without crying out for the States permission.

Mark Hubbard said...

This makes me livid. The experience of the Dutch wholly supports euthanasia.

This bullshit scaremongering is only ever that with no substance in reality. In the multitude of high population jurisdictions where euthansia is legal there are NO issues of abuse due to the comprehensive safeguards.

Euthanasias is voluntary. No one is forcing you. So you do not have a right to determine the circumstances of my death you meddling bastards. Sorry about my language Lindsay, but will you Stone Age compassionaless barbarians bugger off out of the lives of others, including those of us living intelligent, considered adult lives.

Or, go see Lecretia, sit opposite her and arrogantly tell her she has to die in a manner abhorrent to her because of your belief in suffering unto a comic book fairy tale, and your unfounded scaremongering.

Ignorance and cruel arrogance. Jesus f*****g Christ. Monsters.

Mark Hubbard said...

Oh, and again, abortion has NOTHING to do with euthanasia. Nothing. Not one ruddy commonality other than Xian bigotry.

Bloody callous, bigotted Christ freaks.

Mark Hubbard said...

Sorry but one more point regarding Donald's callous post.

The line we don't need euthanasia law because we can just top ourselves is evil sophistry on so many levels, and could only come from the brainwashed, compassionless mind of a Christain:

1. Many in the position where their quality of life has degraded to a level they find anathema, are simply no longer physically capable of inflicting death for themselves. Indeed, one of Lecretia's arguments, which was successful in the Canadian courts earlier this year, is that fear of this inability leads some to take their lives earlier, when they are capable, thus they lose inestimable possible years of good life due to a Living Will having no legitamacy in case of sudden incapacity via, for example, stroke.

2. Lack of euthanasia law means only violent, often painful & unsuccessful methods of death are available, such as shotgun, hanging - an often dreadful way to die - or struggling for breath with your head in a plastic bag, one of the most used methods. Think about dying like that.

3. One of the most civilised aspects of having euthanasia law is it means you can die peacefully in the arms of family and loved ones. Currently you must die alone so as not to incriminate your loved ones. Such as Rosie Mott who sent her husband out to the sidewalk while she killed herself by suffocation, no doubt scared, and all alone, staring at the ruddy wallpaper.

Finally, please note euthanasia is not suicide. Most who have euthanied themselves love life, but their health issues preclude living on terms that are acceptable to them.

The Christians on this thread will profess love, but advocate only bigotry born savagry that is no different from their behaviour during the Crusades. Grow up and grow a heart. More importantly, butt out of peoples lives where you have not been asked and are not welcome.

Anonymous said...

Back to the point. The legal system never looks at things as one offs and for that reason I think its unlikely she will be successful given the present level of debate about this. Delay may see the judge off the hook if Ms Searles is as unwell as it appears. That may be seen as a cowardly approach to the matter but its nothing to do with anyone having an opinion.

If the matter is a legal one the morality of it is not a point that requires consideration. Like many substantive changes in legislation I suspect the right to die will come about because of pressure from special interest groups. The wider church view will be immaterial because in 2015 it always is.


Brendan McNeill said...

I have responded to Mark over at his blog rather than here on Lindsay's.