Monday, 27 March 2017

HOORAY! THEY LISTENED! Queensland removes gay panic defence

Last week the Queensland Parliament at last removed gay panic defence from the statute books of Queensland. No longer will men be able to claim that they killed someone in panic because of an unwanted sexual advance to them.

There have been two cases in Queensland where that type of defence was raised- and in both cases those charged were convicted of manslaughter, not murder. Both cases came from the regional town of Maryborough. The then local priest, Father Kelly was resolute in pushing to get rid of the defence.

Others also pushed for the removal over the years. Prominent amongst them were academic, Dr Alan Berman and myself.

Dr Berman and I lobbied two Attorneys-General of Queensland:  Paul Lucas and Cameron Dick. The result was a group of experts, and then partial changes to the defence, but it was recommended by retired Justice John Jerrard QC  that the Government do more. That was in 2011. Then the Government changed - and the Newman Government was elected. New Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie announced that there would be no change.

The ALP went to the last election saying that they would abolish gay panic defence. The LNP under Lawrence Springborg said that they would support the change. I made a submission to the Parliamentary Committee looking at the Government's Bill in support of the changes.

And then finally last week, those proposals came to fruition- and gay panic defence was abolished. All that effort over all those years finally resulted in meaningful, long last lasting worthwhile change.


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