“This is unjust,” cried euthanasia advocate Lesley Martin after she was found guilty of attempting to murder her dying mother.
And from the dock, she urged people to fight to change the law.
In dramatic scenes inside the High Court at Wanganui, Martin, 40, burst into tears and there were loud gasps after a jury found her guilty of one charge, using a morphine overdose on her mother, Joy, and not guilty of the second charge, attempted murder by suffocating her with a pillow.
Friends and family members were distraught as Martin stood, face frozen, her hands clenching and unclenching.
After the judge left the courtroom, Martin remained in the dock sobbing, embraced by her elder son, Matthew, 20.
“I’m proud of you,” she told him, then called out: “Tell New Zealand to complain about this; this is unjust.”
She said supporters should call the euthanasia group she founded, Exit NZ.
“This is people caught between legislation and love.
“There are so many people in the country in my position and I’m just trying everything I can to bring this to a head.
“The time has come to address this issue.
“People have to get off their bums and do something about this, otherwise more and more people are going to end up in my position.” The maximum penalty for attempted murder is 14 years.
But in an unusual move, Martin’s lawyer, Donald Stevens, requested that she not be immediately convicted, as she was unlikely to go to prison.
Dr Stevens said he would apply for a discharge without conviction.
After consultation in chambers, Justice John Wild agreed not to record a conviction.
He granted Martin bail, on condition she live at her New Plymouth home and not hold or apply for a passport, a continuation of previous bail conditions.