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Man avoids conviction for helping wife die

13:45 Thu Sep 13 2012

A New Zealand man who admitted helping his chronically ill wife die has been discharged without conviction.

Evans Mott, 61, pleaded guilty in May to aiding and abetting the death of his wife, Rosie, who suffered from multiple sclerosis. She committed suicide at their Auckland home.

Mott's lawyer, Ron Mansfield, sought a discharge without conviction, saying he was supporting his wife's decision.

Mott is an English-born master boat-builder whose work frequently takes him overseas and Mr Mansfield said a conviction could affect his work prospects, especially in the United States.

High Court judge Justice Patricia Courtney said the "very particular" circumstances of his case, including his age, overseas work prospects and the offending being at the lower end compared with similar cases, made a discharge appropriate.

"You acted out of love and your motivation was to support your wife in a decision she made," Justice Courtney said on Wednesday.

Mott helped his wife research suicide methods and prepare a kit last September.

On December 28 Ms Mott, who was battling the degenerative disease which attacks the nervous system, asked her husband to leave their Orakei home. He later returned to find her dead.

Mott's sentencing follows a number of similar cases which have highlighted the issue of euthanasia in New Zealand.

In November last year Sean Davison was sentenced to five months' home detention for "procuring and inciting" his mother's attempted suicide.

In 2004 Lesley Martin was sentenced to 15 months' jail after being found guilty of the attempted murder of her mother.