'Lots of love!' - Supporters turn out for woman accused of helping ill 77-year-old commit suicide

The trial for a woman accused of helping her friend to commit suicide is getting underway in the High Court in Wellington.

Susan Austen is accused of assisting suicide and importing a class-C drug, a Pentobarbital sold as Nembutal, into New Zealand.

The drug can cause death in high doses and has been used to carry out executions of criminals in the US.

Supporters stand outside the Wellington High Court.
Supporters stand outside the Wellington High Court. Source: 1 NEWS

Annemarie Niesje Treadwell, 77, died last year after suffering from crippling arthritis and memory loss.

About 50 supporters gathered outside the High Court this morning holding placards and wearing hearts with "Suzy" written on them.

Her supporters cheered as the 65-year-old arrived at court this morning, with her son and other family members.

The trial comes as an IPCA investigation is still underway, after police set up a check point in Lower Hutt in October 2016 to try and identify people attending a pro-euthanasia group meeting.  

The jury in the trial, which is set down for around two weeks, are being impaneled this morning.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail.

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Susan Austen is accused of helping a 77-year-old woman, who was suffering from health issues, commit suicide. Source: 1 NEWS