Eliminate the 'gay panic' defence from Queensland law #gaypanic
  • Petitioning Office of Attorney General

This petition will be delivered to:

Office of Attorney General
Office of the Premier
Law and Justice Policy Director
Christine Castley
The Premier of Queensland, The Hon. Mr. Campbell Newman
Campbell Newman
The Hon. Mr. Jarrod Bleijie

Eliminate the 'gay panic' defence from Queensland law #gaypanic

    1. Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
    2. Petition by

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest

      Maryborough, Australia

UPDATE: Queensland's new Attorney-General has just said in media they won't end the "gay panic" defence -- instead saying any change is "unnecessary".

Please sign and share the petition now to tell Campbell Newman that his defence of the "gay panic" loophole is unacceptable, and it needs to be closed immediately. 

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A loophole in Queensland common law allows for people accused of murder to defend themselves in court by claiming “gay panic” -- that is, if someone who they think is gay “comes onto” them, the sheer panic they feel is partial justification for murder.

This law belongs in the dark ages -- but it was enshrined in Queensland common law (case law) in 1997, when a man responded to “gentle touching” by ramming his victim’s head against a wall until he was unrecognisable, then stabbed him to death.

The killer’s argument was this: “Yeah, I killed the guy, but what he did to me was worse.”

Just over two years ago, a man was killed in my church’s grounds, and one of his killers used this same “gay panic” defence. They were eventually acquitted of murder. I’m utterly appalled that a law that so revoltingly and openly discriminates against gay people is still tolerated in a modern society. Laws like the “gay panic” defence are a crucial part of legitimising and reinforcing a culture of hate which means that 73% of gay and lesbian Queenslanders are subjected to verbal abuse or physical violence for their sexuality.

While almost all other state governments have abolished similar laws, (New South Wales is set to abolish it after a cross-party committee recommended changes) and refuse to admit evidence of non-violent homosexual advances in murder trials, nothing has changed here. Queensland is now one of the last states upholding the idea that a person can be panicked enough by gay and lesbian people to justify murder. That’s why I am calling on the Queensland parliament and LNP leader Campbell Newman to eliminate this law as a partial defence for murder, and forbid non-violent homosexual advance being treated as evidence in any murder trial.

This situation cannot go on.

Please sign and help eliminate this antiquated, 17th century defence from our law books.

You can leave a message on his facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/campbell.newman?filter=2

And the phone number for his office is 07 3224 4500 -- if you can leave a message about why you signed with his office, it'll really help. Thanks.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. New South Wales to make the changes. Sadly Queensland still in dark ages

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      It was great news that New South Wales is set to radically curtail the provocation defence to attempt to eliminate homosexual advance defences at common law and also to prevent provocation being used by violent people against their partners. there is so much wrong with the provocation defence and even more than this issue of homosexual advance defences. Still New South Wales has seen the light. Queensland ignored even the modest recommendations of a committee on the issue. This petition will continue as a means of keeping the matter to mind. Commentators in NEw Sotuh wales say that even the proposed changes in NSW can be easily manipulated to get around the protection, but at least its a step in the right direction, rather than a step backwards like in Queensland. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/provocation-defence-should-be-severely-limited-say-mps-20130423-2icu6.html

      Provocation defence should be severely limited, say MPs

      The legal defence of provocation should no longer be available to men who kill their wives out of jealous rage or take umbrage at gay sexual advances, a parliamentary committee says. The joint NSW parliamentary committee on the partial defence of provocation has unanimously recommended an overhaul of laws.

    2. Analytical article

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      An excellent and in-depth article on legal and sociological issues relating to this case has been published in the QUT law and Justice Journal. It raised some great observations and questions. Please check it out and share https://ljj.law.qut.edu.au/article/view/489

    3. QWeekend article

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      The Courier-Mail's Qweekend magazine supplement published a cover story of this petition and the surrounding issues. you can see the excellent article at http://www.couriermail.com.au/extras/qweekend/fff/features/pdfs/342.pdf

    4. Reached 200,000 signatures
    5. Attorney-General opens door for "gay panic" reform

      Nathan Elvery
      Campaigner, Australia

      Father Paul Kelly met with Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie this afternoon to push his case for reform of a law that has met with outrage from the public, victims of crime, legal experts and members of the gay community. More than 193,000 people have signed Father Paul’s Change.org petition calling for the loophole to be closed.

      Father Paul said the Attorney-General made it clear that he had not, contrary to some media reports, made a final determination on the issue.

      “While the Attorney-General expressed serious reservations about many aspects of my call to reform this law, he made it clear to me that he had not made a final decision on the issue,”

      Father Paul said over the past week huge momentum has built for a change to the law -- and the campaign will continue until a commitment is made.

      For further comment from Father Paul, contact Tony Robertson (Communications Director, Change.org) 0419 867 230

    6. update

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      The present excuses thrown up by the LNP to fob this issue off are infuriating and quite misleading. Any suggestion that the homosexual advance defence under common law is somehow not a real defence and is not available under the common law as allowed by this section of the code is very misleading. It is available and does exist and has been used and adjudicated in numerous cases. Leaving this law to be 'tested" again is shocking and unacceptable because this means we have to wait and watch another future court case where someone is killed violently and then the accused raises this defence or aspects of this defence. It is also unnecessary as it is quite clear that the changes so far have not eradicated the raising of this defence or the circumstances of such a defence.

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-25/priest-ramps-up-fight-against-gay-panic-defence/4153530

    7. Victim's mother speaks out about "gay panic" defence

      Nathan Elvery
      Campaigner, Australia

      Grieving mum Joyce Kujala has called on Premier Campbell Newman to immediately close the legal loophole that allowed her son’s killer to walk free from jail after just four years.

      Joyce said today she was devastated that one of her son’s killers, Jason Andrew Pearce, was freed from jail this month after serving just four years.

      “This is a terrible loophole in the law that anyone can use to literally get away with murder,” said Joyce

      “Pearce took my son's life and gave me a life sentence - he got four years and now he's free.

      “My son was not gay. It just shows that anyone with a smart lawyer can use the defence against anyone.

      “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.”

      Joyce said she was grateful for Father Paul’s Change.org campaign and the support it had received.

    8. latest news

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      the attorney general has indicated that no changes will be made until the current law is tested again. This implies that we have to have another case of homicide where this defence is attempted. That is utterly intolerable.

      In any case, just looking at the law as it stands and comparing previous cases and their circumstances, it is quite obvious that the defence could indeed still be attempted. it is astounding that these weak excuses are raised for not doing more. here is the latest news report that captures some of the issues:

      please click the link below

    9. Reached 180,000 signatures
    10. From Bad to Worse:

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      It just gets worse. A supporter posted a question on Queensland Premier Mr Campbell Newman's facebook and this is what happened:

      please visit the link:
      http://australianprovocation.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/from-bad-to-worse-update.html

    11. Our Say - ask the Australian Prime Minister a question

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      Could you please cast a vote and pass on this link to people. Perhaps a Federal law can protect human rights issues like our case. thanks. http://oursay.org/s/2fu

    12. Reached 150,000 signatures
    13. Transcribed interview on radio with the Queensland Attorney General

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      Please have a read of my annotated transcription of the interview with Queensland Attorney General. I find his answers astounding. I think you will find it very revealing. http://australianprovocation.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/attorney-general-jarrod-bleijie.html

    14. Reached 100,000 signatures
    15. New Attorney-General says change is "unnecessary"

      Nathan Elvery
      Campaigner, Australia

      The Attorney-General said on radio this week that ending the "gay panic" loophole is "unnecessary" -- and that efforts to close it last time were merely a "political football".

      Father Paul has now reopened the campaign and is pushing for Campbell Newman to declare his personal position -- and finally end this "archaic" law. He is looking at personally delivering it to Newman if it reaches 40,000 signatures.

      You can see the media about Attorney-General's comments here: http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/2012/07/03/gay-panic-to-stay/80192

    16. Reached 30,000 signatures
    17. more glimmers of hope and common sense for full text pls see link

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      This is a report from NSW:
      Paul Lynch MP, Shdw Att. Gen. ( 14/6/12)
      The NSW Labor Opposition has successfully established a parliamentary inquiry into the law of provocation – after the Legislative Council voted to support the inquiry this morning. Labor's Helen Westwood moved the private member's motion in the State's Upper House to establish the inquiry into the provocation defence."There have been many criticisms of the provocation defence to a murder charge and this parliamentary inquiry will consider whether the defence should be abolished,.. "Labor will ask the inquiry to consider whether the provocation defence should be abolished or alternatively, if the Crimes Act should be amended to ensure that behaviour regarded as provocative is gross enough to properly constitute a partial defence to murder."Any change in the law would also have to look closely at self defence provisions, and ensure that there are proper defences available to women in domestic relationships..

    18. LNP reported as considering legislative changes

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      A recent report based on a live Q&A recording indicates that the LNP government is moving to look at changes to the Queensland Law to try to deal with the issue of homosexual advance as a partial defence under the head of provocation. Sadly it looks like there may be a determination to continue to leave provocation open as a defence, but it is hard to see what excuse one can have for bashing someone to the point that they later died unless one can establish self-defence. The old chestnut is still being brought out about not being able to entirely remove this area because it might affect the defence of a battered spouse, but this comment is really quite disingenuous and disappointing, as there is a separate head for that issue in Queensland law and other states have dealt with it elsewhere, in its own separate section or under self defence. Anyway, it is still looking positive. But, the vigilance needs to keep up, since the final result is not yet known. Thanks for ongoing support.

    19. Answers?

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      We are still awaiting LNP leader Campbell Newman in his response to my question that is the number one question in "oursay" with 4374 votes; (Well done everyone). I do hope Mr Newman will respond before the Queensland election.

    20. Our Say (QLD)

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      the fight is not over yet. Campbell Newman has agreed to answer questions posed by public. but the most popular question. please follow this link and vote for my question. we REALLY need the LNP to commit more definitively to this issue.
      http://oursay.org/s/10f

    21. Update. New South Wales is in need of change too

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      Hi everyone.
      Beat Project NSW has been campaigning around the issues of hate-related crime and 'Gay Panic' for some time - especially following the decision by the former NSW Attorney-General to defend the use of 'Gay Panic' and homosexual advance issues when he declined to appeal the reduced sentence of manslaughter given to a young man who was responsible for the violent killing of a gay man with a disability in a park at Narrabeen in 2007...

      They have been inspired by our petition and have just created a petition to eradicate 'Gay Panic' from NSW law ... http://www.change.org/petitions/nsw-attorney-general-abolish-the-gay-panic-defence-from-nsw-law-nswgaypanic

      The law in New South Wales is still alarming too, so please support this worthy cause as we remain vigilant too here in the progress of the Queensland state of law.

      They have also set up a Twitter account -- #nswgaypanic

    22. the committee report has been released

      Rev. Fr. Paul Kelly. Catholic Priest
      Petition Organizer

      The Government has released the report of the Committee that was looking into whether changes were needed to the law. The majority decided: changes needed.

      To me, this report indicates one major point we have been trying to say all along: one can put up all sorts of barriers to why things can’t be changed, or instead, one can decide that change is needed and set about working to overcome any difficulties and barriers.

      The 2 cases that occurred in my region are described in more detail. Have a read of them. Legal fineries and distinctions aside, what is your reaction to the conclusions and interpretations overlaid on the situations described there? Is this what our society and our legal system wants to continue to make concessions for? I felt alarm.// Thank goodness for Shelley Argent's and Mark Thomas' comments in this report; a ray of light and eminent sense: "Parliament should not shy away from changing it because it was difficult to describe the desired result."

    23. Reached 25,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Sean Bray VANCOUVER, CANADA
      • 15 days ago

      These kinds of laws are bullshit

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • james chan MONTREAL, CANADA
      • 27 days ago

      dumb excuses stop having homophobias he wasnt in danger of death!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Michaela Cappelli AUSTRALIA
      • about 1 month ago

      This is a social justice issue, I wish it was important to everybody.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Rebekkah Hoskins HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND
      • about 1 month ago

      It should be important to everyone, those who commit brutal acts of violence need to be held accountable for their actions. Having homophobic, pretentious loopholes such as these are simply giving people more excuses to support the criminal and damn the victim.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Zachary Wait AUSTRALIA
      • about 1 month ago

      This is important to me because, anti-gay law is oppressive and last time I checked we live in a free country.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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