State can appeal assisted suicide

Judge Fabricius of the Pretoria High Court has granted the State leave to appeal against his recent historic ruling that a terminally ill patient can commit assisted suicide.(PHOTO: SABC)

Originally published in IOL News

In the High Court sitting in Pretoria Judge Hans Fabricius on Tuesday granted the government leave to appeal his earlier ruling in which he gave Cape Town advocate Robin Stransham-Ford permission to have a doctor assist him in dying.


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The 65-year-old terminally ill Stransham-Ford died hours before the judgment was delivered.

The order given by the judge, however, went further than only addressing his assisted suicide.

Judge Fabricius not only paved the way for others in a similar position to approach the court to be assisted in dying, but he also started the process in developing the common law regarding this highly debatable topic.

The ministers of health and justice, as well as the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPSCA), have raised a number of concerns regarding the judgment.

They said this is such a complicated and highly contentious issue that it warrants the input of all the stakeholders. It was said that this was not an issue which the court could decide upon during an urgent application.

Judge Fabricius on Tuesday said the matter was of public interest and the issue of developing the common law warranted another court to have a look at the issue.

He expressed his doubt whether another court would come to another decision, but agreed that there were many other aspects borne from the topic which should come under scrutiny.


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