1492728201379 - Hutt woman Susan Austen faces new charge of aiding a suicide

Hutt woman Susan Austen faces new charge of aiding a suicide

A charge of aiding a suicide has been laid against a Hutt Valley woman already accused of importing a euthanasia drug.

Susan Dale Austen, 66, a teacher from Lower Hutt, was charged in October, 2016, with having twice imported a controlled drug pentobarbitone.

Dale appeared in the Wellington District Court on Friday facing a new charge of aiding the suicide of Annemarie Treadwell​.

The charge alleged aid was given between December 12, 2015 and June 7, 2016. The charge has a maximum penalty of 14 years’ jail.

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* Wellington woman’s death trigger for Police euthanasia furore
* Charges laid over importing euthanasia drug
* Police stance was to not answer questions over details of euthanasia checkpoint
* Susan Austen in court on euthanasia drug charges

A notice published after Treadwell’s death said she had died peacefully, aged 77, at her Wellington home on June 6, 2016. 

In court on Friday Austen’s lawyer, Donald Stevens, QC, said pleas would be entered to all three charges at Austen’s next court appearance on May 12.

Judge Bill Hastings remanded Austen on bail. He declined to allow photographs to be taken or filming of Austen in court.

Police have asked for the three charges to be heard together. A large group of supporters were at court with Austen.

The Independent Police Conduct Commission launched an investigation into complaints police used a vehicle checkpoint operation to identify people who had been to an Exit Wellington meeting in early October, 2016. Exit Wellington is a pro-voluntary euthanasia group.

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