31 Jul 2015

Seales' family won't appeal court ruling

6:33 am on 31 July 2015

The family of Lecretia Seales has decided not to appeal against the High Court decision that turned down her fight for her doctor to help her die.

Lecretia Seales

Lecretia Seales died in June, hours after learning her case had failed. Photo: FACEBOOK

The former lawyer, who had brain cancer, had sought clarification on whether assisted death would be an offence under the Crimes Act, and whether that was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights.

Ms Seales died last month, hours after learning her case had failed.

Her husband, Matt Vickers, said said challenging the court's decision would hinder what her case had already achieved.

In a statement released last night, Mr Vickers said while the family maintained the judge should have ruled in her favour, the court's findings were firm enough to warrant a review of the law.

"As Lecretia is no longer with us and would not benefit from a successful appeal, and as parliament has agreed to deeply engage with the topic of assisted dying through a select committee, we feel that Parliament is finally fulfilling its representative function on the issue.

"We feel that persisting with an appeal would likely hinder rather than help the select committee process, and would not achieve any further political outcome than what Lecretia and her case has already achieved."

Lecretia Seales' husband Matt Vickers speaking at a news conference in Wellington on Friday.

Matt Vickers pictured speaking to media in June Photo: RNZ / Tom Furley

Mr Vickers said the burden was now on the Health Select Committee which could either recommend a law change, or prove why it should stay the same.

"Our view is that a position based on fear and speculation cannot form the basis of any justification the select committee presents."

"It must engage with and scrutinise the evidence, and it must acknowledge that the medical community is not in unanimous agreement on a law change, nor does it need to be."

Mr Vickers said polling showed New Zealanders overwhelmingly wanted the law changed, and the Parliament has a moral and democratic responsibility to review it.

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