NSW provocation defence under review
LGBTI rights advocates have welcomed the news that NSW parliament is set to review the controversial "provocation" defence for murder.
The law currently provides a partial defence to murder if the accused can prove they were provoked into killing someone, and can lead to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) said it was necessary to review the law because it was part of the so-called "homosexual advance defence", where defendants have in the past successfully argued they were provoked into killing someone because the victim had made sexual advances to them.
In 1997 the High Court upheld the use of the "homosexual charge defence" to reduce a charge of murder to manslaughter.
Justin Koonin, GLRL co-convenor, said, “The homosexual advance defence [legitimises] homophobia in the community by suggesting that same-sex advances are by implication provocative to ordinary people.”
He added that while the defence has not recently been used successfully, the option was still open until the law was changed.
Lanie Arnold, GLRL co-convenor said the enquiry offered "an important opportunity to address an existing archaic law that effectively stigmatises gay and lesbian people."
"We hope the NSW Government will act swiftly to abolish the homosexual advance defence," Arnold said.
The call for an inquiry comes after Chamanjot Singh, who slit his wife's throat, was this month found guilty of manslaughter instead of murder on the grounds he was provoked by his wife's behaviour.
He was jailed for at least six years, sparking community outrage.
Labor MP Helen Westwood moved to establish an inquiry into the law which will now be reviewed by a parliamentary committee.
"There have been many criticisms of the provocation defence to a murder charge and this parliamentary inquiry will consider whether the defence should be abolished," Shadow Attorney-General Paul Lynch said.