SOUTH Australia’s Law Reform Institute has told the state government it should scrap its “gay panic” legal defence.
The defence, which has been abolished in all other Australian states, allows people accused of murder to have their charge reduced to manslaughter if it was “provoked” by a gay advance.
“The current law of provocation indirectly sanctions lethal violence against those who seem to exhibit homosexual behaviour,” said John Williams, director of the Law Reform Institute.
“It’s clear to us that the gay panic aspect of the current provocation defence is offensive and should be removed, and that any non-violent sexual advance of any kind should not amount to provocation.
“As a basic issue, we also believe that our laws in the 21st century should make it unacceptable for anyone to lose self-control and kill someone.”
South Australian premier Jay Weatherill committed last year to abolishing the “outdated and offensive” law, saying his government was waiting on advice from the Law Reform Institute.
Williams said the government should wait for the Institute’s coming second report on the matter that will advise whether provocation as a defence should be scrapped entirely.