Judge unfairly targeted in Lecretia Seales right-to-die case

By June 13, 2015 Recent News

Opinion: Stuff co.nz 12 June 2015
Justice David Collins drew the short straw when he was assigned to hear Lecretia Seales’ case seeking the right to die at a time of her own choosing.
He made the correct decision, ruling that it was for Parliament, not the courts, to change the law relating to assisted suicide.
He explained his decision in a thorough, carefully reasoned 55-page judgment. That he produced this document in a matter of days, hoping to deliver his decision before Seales died (which he did), was no small achievement.
He was under immense pressure, not only in terms of time but because whatever decision he made was bound to provoke an intense reaction. Few judges have presided over a more emotional case.
But Collins has been given precious little credit. Some media portrayed his decision as cold and heartless, when in fact he was at pains to express sympathy for Seales’ predicament.
TVNZ’s coverage, in particular, was disgracefully loaded.
Of all media, state-owned broadcasters have a particular obligation to be balanced and objective. But TVNZ adopted a partisan and emotive tone, portraying Seales as having been cruelly denied her dying wish.
Her family, colleagues and friends could be excused their extreme disappointment. She was clearly loved and admired, and those closest to her had been through an emotional wringer.