NSW to close loophole on gay panic defence
The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has welcomed the announcement that the NSW Government will be releasing an exposure draft bill redefining the rules on provocation as a defense for murder.
The Lobby says they will be making submissions in regards to the bill on behalf of the LGBTI community.
“We commend the O'Farrell Government for introducing these amendments in response to the report of the Legislative Council Select Committee on the Partial Defence of Provocation and we thank the members of that Committee for their tireless work,” said a spokesperson from the NSW GLRL.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell said the Exposure Draft of the Crimes Amendment (Provocation) Bill would assist in eliminating the inappropriate use of provocation as a defence under certain circumstances.
“Husbands who kill their wives after losing their temper in a fit of jealousy should not be entitled to escape a murder charge by using the partial defence of provocation,” said O’Farrell.
“Under these proposed changes, defendants will need to show ‘extreme provocation’ in order to be entitled to use the partial defence.
“The Bill requires that to constitute ‘extreme provocation’, the conduct of the deceased must have been a serious indictable offence. Under the Bill, if a person kills their partner, the fact that their partner has been unfaithful, or wishes to leave the relationship, cannot amount to ‘extreme provocation’. The same will be the case if a person kills someone who makes a non-violent sexual advance towards them.
“These are not circumstances that should result in a conviction for manslaughter instead of murder.”
While the changes seem to predominantly pertain to instances where domestic violence has turned fatal, it seems that they could equally apply to those instances where gay panic has been cited as a defense.
The GLRL commented: “We look forward to the passage of legislation that consigns to the dust-bin of history a legal defence that has legitimated acts of violence against gay and bisexual men in the State of New South Wales.”
The Exposure Draft Bill and Discussion Paper can be viewed at www.lpclrd.lawlink.nsw.gov.au