Court grants man right to assisted death
30 April 2015, 13:32
Pretoria - The High Court in Pretoria on Thursday granted a terminally ill man the right to end his own life, with the help of a doctor.
Robin Stransham-Ford was granted an order that allows a doctor to help him commit suicide and the doctor shall not be subject to prosecution or disciplinary proceedings.
"The applicant is entitled to be assisted by a medical practitioner either by the administration of a lethal agent or by providing the applicant with the necessary lethal agent to administer himself," said Judge Hans Fabricius.
Stransham-Ford, 65, a former advocate, was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in September 2013, and had hoped that Judge Fabricius would hand down an order to allow a doctor to give him drugs that he would use to end his own life.
His wish was that if unable to administer them himself, the doctor should be able to do it, without fear of being prosecuted.
He believed that it was an infringement of his constitutional right to dignity not to allow this.
The justice and health ministers, Health Professions Council of SA, and National Director of Public Prosecutions opposed the application.
Doctors for Life and Cause for Justice were admitted as friends of the court on Wednesday morning.
Dignity SA board member Professor Willem Landman said it was a "fantastic ruling".