Updates pertaining to Prof. Sean Davison’s upcoming trial

STATEMENT BY DIGNITY SA (Pinned post - scroll down for further news updates)

DignitySA learnt about the arrest of our colleague, Prof Sean Davison, yesterday, 18 September 2018. He appeared in a magistrates court in Cape Town on the morning of 19 September. The charge is one of premeditated murder. It relates to his assisting a quadriplegic friend to die in 2013. Bail was granted.

DignitySA awaits more information about the charges against Prof Davison. The law must take its course, as it should in a constitutional democracy.

Whereas we would do whatever possible to assist Prof Davison and his family in this difficult time, DignitySA wishes to reaffirm that our mission is a change in the legal position regarding assisted dying in South Africa. To this end we have been involved in the Stransham-Ford High Court case and the consequent appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, as well as a new High Court case that is pending, and the draft healthcare amendment bill to legalise advance directives.

As an organisation, we do not assist individuals with dying (assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia) however wrong we believe it is that some people die in conditions of intractable and unbearable suffering.

Prof Davison has a private and professional life outside DignitySA and, like any good citizen, he takes responsibility for his choices.

We trust he will be given a fair hearing and, in particular, that the apparent conflict between our common law and the Bill of Rights in our Constitution will be argued in court. There is a class of people who, for no choice of their own, die in extremely distressful circumstances. Their rights have not been aligned with the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. For that reason, some individuals act compassionately in ways that might attract the attention of legal authorities.

~ Prof. Willem Landman
19 September 2018

29 april 2019

a word from professor sean davison

Today, 29 April 2019, I appeared in court in Cape Town and was charged with the pre-meditated murder of Richard Holland in 2015; this is the third charge I now face. Richard Holland was a South African triathlete who broke his neck when he was knocked off his bicycle while training. As a consequence of this accident he developed locked-in-syndrome.

My next court appearance is on the 24th of May when a date for the High Court trial will be set.  Once again I wish to express my immense gratitude to the messages of support my family and I have received from around the world; it gives us considerable comfort to know we are not alone on this journey.

29 april 2019


Professor Sean Davison appeared in court this morning and faces an additional charge relating to the death of Richard Holland in 2015.

His bail has been extended until his next appearance on 24 May 2019.

Our thoughts are with him and his family.


Professor Sean Davison’s trial has been postponed to 29 April 2019 at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

No decision has yet been made by the Director of Public Prosecutions as to which court the matter will ultimately be heard in.


Euthanasia advocate Sean Davison has bail extended after case postponed (NEWS 24 - 29 JANUARY 2019)