Professor Sean Davison File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Professor Sean Davison File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Right-to-die activist Davison's triple murder trial moved to high court

By Staff Writer Time of article published May 24, 2019

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Cape Town – Right-to-die activist Sean Davison, who has been charged with three murders, appeared briefly in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Friday and his case was transferred to the high court. 

He will appear in the Western Cape High Court on June 19, News24 reported. The 58-year-old UWC academic heard that his pre-trial would go ahead on June 19 and that an indictment and summary of facts had been drawn up.

Davison insists that he has not committed any offence and is out on R20 000 bail.

The co-founder of Dignity South Africa, which is campaigning for a change in the law, served five months of house arrest in New Zealand after helping his mother to end her life. 

He was arrested at his Pinelands home in April last year over the 2013 death of quadriplegic Anrich Burger, who was a friend. Burger, who was unable to consume medication on his own, had been a medical doctor until his accident in 2005. 

Burger suffered severe nerve pain in his legs and was totally dependent on others and expressed a desire to end his life on more than one occasion, according to the State's summary of facts.

A second charge of murder was later added in connection with the death of Justin Varian in July 2015. Varian had a stroke in 2010 and was diagnosed with motor neuron disease a year later.

From 2012, Varian was bedridden and had great difficulty eating, swallowing and sleeping and was unable to move without assistance. 

On appearing in court on April 29, Davison was also charged for allegedly "administering a lethal amount of drugs" to Richard Holland around November 8, 2015.

Holland was a keen sportsman and was knocked off his bicycle while on a training ride in Dubai in October 2012.

As a result, he suffered brain injuries and had no motor function. He was unable to speak and had no audible voice. He could not feed himself and had to be fed through a tube in his stomach. 

Towards the end of his life, he was able to swallow soft food. He was in extreme pain, which included severe migraines and body pain from severe spasticity of his muscles.

He expressed the desire to end his life on numerous occasions, according to the State's summary of facts. 

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