Queensland mother Joyce Kujala has called on Premier Campbell Newman to immediately end the notorious “gay panic” defence, which was used by the two men who beat her son to death in 2008.
Her plea was prompted by the early release of one of her son’s killers after just four years of a nine-year sentence.
Jason Andrew Pearce and Richard John Meerdink were jailed for the manslaughter of Wayne Ruks in a Maryborough churchyard .
The men attempted to use the state’s controversial provocation defence during their trial by saying that Ruks had tried to grab Pearce’s crotch before the attack. The court rejected the defence.
Pearce was granted parole and released early from jail on July 9.
The killing outside his church prompted Father Paul Kelly to launch his Change.org campaign to end the legal loophole, which has attracted more than 180,000 signatures and global support.
Kujala said last week that she hoped the Criminal Code would be changed to prevent the defence being used.
“This is a terrible loophole in the law that anyone can use to literally get away with murder,” she said.
“There is no condoning an attack on anyone, regardless of their race or religion or the way they live. This law is a loophole that simply encourages more crime.
“It’s time for Campbell Newman to close it.”
Father Paul Kelly said that the premier needed to realise the issue was not going to go away and that it was time for him to declare his stance on the defence.
“Campbell Newman says he is tough on crime. Now I’d like to see him show that he is by finally removing the gay panic defence,” he said.
“This is not just a gay rights issue, it is a criminal justice and human rights issue.
“There is overwhelming support for the removal of the gay panic defence and it is time Campbell Newman listened to what the community was saying.”
Earlier this month, Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie revealed that he was unlikely to implement changes to the defence.
You can add your signature to the petition here.