A BILL to abolish the “gay panic” defence in South Australia has been introduced after a man found guilty of murder in 2013 was last week granted a retrial by the High Court.
Michael Joseph Lindsay was sentenced to at least 23 years imprisonment for the 2011 fatal stabbing of Andrew Negre.
They also argued that the trial judge misdirected the jury on the provocation defence, which can downgrade a murder charge to manslaughter and significantly reduce the prison sentence.
“Shockingly, this homophobic defence is still being utilised in South Australia today,” South Australian Greens gender and sexuality spokesperson Tammy Franks said when she re-introduced the bill in the state parliament’s upper house.
“South Australia must follow the lead of other states and do away with the archaic ‘gay panic’ common law defence”.
The High Court stated that the provocation in the Lindsay/Negre case had a “larger dimension than merely an unwanted homosexual advance on a heterosexual man”.
However, Franks said it was “appalling” that “this partial common law defence is still being relied upon in 2015″.
The defence is applicable only in the case of a man killing another man, and not if a woman makes a non-violent sexual advance to another man or woman, or if a man makes such an advance to a woman.
“It’s offensive, it’s homophobic, it needs to be removed from South Australia’s culture,” Franks said.
Franks first submitted a similar bill in 2013 but it was rejected.
Queensland, the only other state in which the gay panic provocation defence exists, is in the process of reintroducing amendments to abolish it this year.