UWC is looking forward to welcoming back Sean Davison, a professor in its biotechnology department, after he has served five months home detention.
Davison, who helped his terminally ill mother to die in New Zealand in 2006, was sentenced to home detention there after pleading guilty in the Dunedin High Court to a charge of procuring the suicide of his mother.
UWC spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said
: “We look forward to his return, so that he can continue to produce cutting-edge DNA research. It has been a trying time for Professor Davison and his family. We are delighted that he can now be reunited with his loved ones and his UWC family.”
Tyhalibongo said Davison’s teaching for the year had been completed and the Forensic Genetics Laboratory was being maintained by his research associate Eugenia d’Amato.
Davison and his partner Raine Pan spoke yesterday, soon after he was sentenced.
“It’s a bit of a shock to us. To other people it’s not so bad. But we know our situation is a little different. So, basically, I was just very pleased we didn’t get a jail sentence,” said Pan.
“But to me and the boys, it’s the same as jail because his home is here.”
The couple have two young sons – two-year-old Flynn and 16-month old Finnian.
Pan has collected newspaper articles about Davison to help explain to their children one day why their father has a criminal record.
She told the Cape Times she was relieved he no longer faced a charge of attempted murder, but it was “unfair” he would have a criminal record for doing as his cancer-ravaged mother had wished.
“I feel disappointed because obviously I wanted him to walk free. Five months is very long. I feel sorry he will miss out on all these milestones. Our babies are growing so fast.
“It means there’s not an extra set of hands around the house. And now I’m alone. But I want to be positive because he did the right thing.”
AFP reported that High Court judge Christine French sentenced Davison to five months’ home detention, saying the 50-year-old knew he was committing a crime in helping his mother die, but the offence was “at the lower end of the scale”.
Outside the court, Davison told reporters his case should never have been prosecuted and called for legal changes to allow voluntary euthanasia: “This trial was not about justice, it was about getting a conviction at all costs. I feel the law should be about humanity.”
Pan said: “After court, he went straight to the house. There they put the alarm around his ankle so he doesn’t escape the house.”
Pan said Davison would be staying in the Dunedin home of a close friend’s brother.
Davison went on trial earlier this month after being arrested in New Zealand in September last year on an attempted murder charge.
In a leaked book manuscript, he had admitted to giving his mother Patricia Ferguson, 85, a lethal dose of morphine. Davison was cleared of attempted murder after agreeing to plead guilty to the lesser charge.