Founder of Dignity SA, Sean Davison’s case of premeditated murder has been transferred to the High Court for a pretrial hearing.

Davison, whose organisation promotes the right to die, made a brief appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court  on Friday. He is facing three counts of premeditated murder for allegedly administering lethal amounts of drugs that killed three men between 2013 and 2015 in Cape Town.

The State alleges that the 58-year-old academic assisted in the suicide of his friend Anrich Burger, who had become paralysed after a car crash. It also accuses him of having a hand in the death of Justin Varian, who suffered from a motor neuron disease.

According to the charge sheet, Davison had placed a bag filled with helium over Varian’s head to suffocate him. He is also alleged to have administered lethal drugs to Richard Holland, a triathlete who had been paralysed after a cycling accident.

The case has been postponed to June 19, 2019.

Davison first made headlines in 2010 after he was arrested in New Zealand for assisting his 85-year-old mother, who was a cancer patient, to die in 2006.

He admitted to inciting and helping his mother to commit suicide and was sentenced to five months house arrest in 2011.

He served the sentence at a Dunedin home of a close friend’s brother and returned to South Africa afterwards.

He is a professor of biotechnology at the University of the Western Cape.