NSW GLRL calls on parliament to repeal gay panic defence
With Parliament back in full swing in NSW, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSW GLRL) has called for a repeal of the Homosexual Advance Defence, often referred to as the ‘gay panic’ defence.
The move follows in the footsteps of the 2013 Legislative Council recommendations to the government that the Partial Defence of Provocation should no longer be available as a form of defence to defendants who responded to a non-violent sexual advance with a violent act upon the victim.
In response to the recommendations late last year (Oct 2013) the NSW Government released an exposure draft calling for the abolition of the Homosexual Advance Defence and an amendment to the Crimes Act.
In October 2013, the NSW Government released an Exposure Draft Crimes Amendment (Provocation) Bill 2013, one of the objectives of which was the abolition of the Homosexual Advance Defence.
The NSW GLRL believes its is now time Parliament took action to follow up on the recommendations of these reports and rid the law of the Homosexual Advance Defence for good.
“With multi-partisan support, and a draft Government Bill, we believe that there should be no barriers to the timely passage of the repeal of the Homosexual Advance Defence by the current Parliament,” said Justin Koonin, convenor of the GLRL.
The Homosexual Advance Defence was first used in 1997 and has been successfully applied numerous times since.
Koonin said it was time Parliament took action to abolish the defence, which at times has seen murder charges downgraded to manslaughter after the employment of the defence.
“It is beyond time for our Parliamentarians to accept this responsibility by abolishing the defence, bringing LGBTI people in NSW one step closer to equality, and most importantly ensuring that it can never again downgrade what would otherwise be a murder conviction to manslaughter.”