Euthanasia Activist Lesley Martin Heads to New Zealand Supreme Court

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 15, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Euthanasia Activist Lesley Martin Heads to New Zealand Supreme Court Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 15, 2005

Wellington, New Zealand ( — New Zealand euthanasia advocate Lesley Martin is heading to her country’s Supreme Court with the hopes of getting her conviction for the murder of her terminally ill mother overturned. She was sentenced to a 15-month jail term for her role in the 1999 death.

Martin was released in December after spending seven and a half months in prison. Last month, a court of appeal rejected her petition to have the conviction overturned.

Her attorney Donald Stevens filed a petition to take the case to the top court.

In November, Stevens claimed Martin was suffering from a mental disorder when she killed her mother. However, the appeals court didn’t buy the argument.

Stevens also contends the evidence used to convict her was flawed and that the trial judge misdirected the jury in her case. Stevens said Martin’s "admissions" were the result of her own exhaustion.

Martin contends her involvement in her mother’s death was not a criminal act and parole boards refused to grant her the chance to serve out her sentence at home saying she refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing.

During sentencing, Justice Wilde said Martin showed a total lack of remorse, indicating she would try to kill again if a similar situation arose. Other members of Martin’s family have condemned her actions.

Martin’s conviction has been considered a setback for the pro-euthanasia movement.

Euthanasia opponent Wesley Smith has written, "The overriding and implacable goal of the movement will always be what it has been from its inception more than one hundred years ago–legalized killing as a legitimate answer to illness and human suffering."