New Zealand Euthanasia Advocate Who Killed Mom Wants Police Protests

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Zealand Euthanasia Advocate Who Killed Mom Wants Police Protests

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 22, 2004

Auckland, New Zealand ( — Euthanasia campaigner Lesley Martin, who was found guilty of killing her disabled mother, is urging supporters of assisted suicide to gather at police stations across the country on Friday — the same day she is scheduled to be sentenced.

"This is their one opportunity to have their say," Martin said. Now that her efforts to legalize euthanasia have become a nationwide controversy, she says it is time for her supporters to step forward.

But, police representatives told the New Zealand Herald newspaper that anyone coming to a police station to advocate assisted suicide would be wasting their time.

"It would also be a waste of police time," central district police commander Superintendent Mark Lammas said, because police are not legislators.

Earlier this month, Martin was found by a jury to be guilty of attempting to kill her mother, Joy Patricia Martin, in May 1999.

In a book she wrote, Martin states that she attempted to end her mother’s life by administering morphine and smothering her the next day. She had pledged that she would prevent her mother from undergoing a slow and painful death.

Sentencing was postponed until the end of the month. Then, a judge will rule on a defense motion to have her discharged without a conviction being recorded.

Brian Johnston, author of the book Death as a Salesman, told earlier in the trial, "I’ve been at numerous deathbeds and I know the emotions that surround suffering and death. I also know that there are better answers than killing these vulnerable patients."

Meanwhile, Joy Martin’s youngest daughter, Louise Britton, says her sister Lesley is wrong to her their mother’s death as a means of promoting assisted suicide. She told New Zealand media that her sister is "not a very nice person."

"No one knows what she’s truly like . . . There’s a lot of people she’s hurt," Britton said.