Stop allowing “gay panic” as an excuse for murder in Australia
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I’m a Catholic Priest and 8 years ago a man called Wayne Ruks was bashed to death in my Maryborough churchyard (300kms north of Brisbane). Unbelievably, his killer's convictions were downgraded to manslaughter, and in the trial the circumstances surrounding the bashing referred to issues that can be described as “gay panic.”
It’s disgusting - this law, under the common law interpretation of the partial defence of Provocation, is still valid in both QLD and South Australia. In these two Australian states, if someone who you think is gay makes a pass at you, the sheer panic you could feel is partial justification for murder.
I’ve made it my mission to see this revolting law abolished - it belongs in the dark ages. I have no words to describe how offensive, harmful and dangerous it is that two of our governments uphold that a person can be panicked enough by gay people to justify murder. The common law can really be only over-ridden in this respect by explicit legal ammendments to the Code of Criminal law covering murder and the partial defence of Provocation. Gay panic will continue to be a part of the law of these states until expressly excluded. I am also concerned that even when cases are not formally and specifically pleading the 'gay panic' defense, the mere bringing in of suggestions that the victim made a non-violent homosexual advance, (whether true or not), poisons the waters and taps into deep-seated homophobia and bigotry and ought not be brought up at all in any way in the hearing of a jury. The victim is not on trial here.
That’s why I am calling on the Queensland and South Australia to eliminate this "gay panic" law as a partial defence for murder. Please sign and share my petition.
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