NSW “gay panic” defence laws officially abolished
THE Crimes Amendment (Provocation) Bill 2014 has officially just passed through NSW Parliament, signalling the end of the so-called “gay panic” defence laws.
The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby have welcomed the news, calling it the end of the “most homophobic legal defence on the statute books” in the state.
The bill effectively removes the legal foundation for the use of the Homosexual Advance Defence, a common-law creation of the partial defence of provocation, in cases involving a non-violent sexual advance.
In the past, the Homosexual Advance Defence has successfully been used by people who would otherwise likely have been convicted of murder, to instead be convicted of manslaughter and thereby receive more lenient sentences, after claiming they were provoked by someone’s alleged sexual advances.
According to the NSW GLRL, this has occurred a number of times, exclusively in cases involving a non-violent sexual advance by a male towards another male.
NSW GLRL convenor Justin Koonin said: “The NSW GLRL has fought for years to end this homophobic and bi-phobic legislation and we welcome the passage of this bill.
“It sends a strong message that violence against people because of their sexual orientation is unacceptable and will certainly not be accepted as an excuse for murder.”
Koonin also commended the community members who have fought to ensure this issue remained on the agenda over the past two decades.
The bill this morning comes after a recommendation by the Legislative Council Select Committee last year that provisions the use of the gay panic defence to be removed. The bill was introduced in State Parliament in March by Christian Democrats upper house MP Fred Nile, who also led the committee last year.