A New Zealand lawyer fighting for the right to die, died of natural causes last night, just hours before the judgement of the case is to be released.
Public law specialist Lecretia Seales, who was dying of an inoperable brain tumour, died at 12.35am New Zealand this morning.
The lawyer, who worked for Chen Palmer and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, spearheaded a landmark and highly publicised case, seeking a declaration that her doctor would not risk prosecution under the Crimes Act if she were to assist Seales to end her life.
Seales asked the High Court for a declaratory judgement that a doctor providing her with aid in dying is not an offence under the New Zealand Crimes Act.
Russell McVeagh lawyers Andrew Butler, Chris Curran and Catherine Marks also argued denying such a declaration breached the New Zealand Bill of Rights. Section 9 of the Bill of Rights Act declares the right “not to be subjected to cruel, degrading or disproportionally severe treatment”, in this case letting her live.
Since her appearance in court last week, her health had deteriorated rapidly with increasing paralysis, and she was moved to a hospital bed in her home over the weekend.
Justice Collins’ reserved judgement is to be released at 3pm, New Zealand time today.