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Gay Panic law change urgent, minister told

Fri 21 Dec 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

A proposed law change to remove 'gay panic' as a defense tactic in court is urgently needed, gay networking and lobbying group Rainbow Wellington has advised new Justice minister Annette King. The group believes the provision supports prejudice against LGBT people. A recent Law Commission report advises reviewing the current Partial Defence of Provocation law which allows those who attack and even kill gay people to argue that they were sufficiently threatened by their victim's homosexuality, or an advance from that person, to justify their attack. "We believe that this change in the law is urgent," Rainbow Wellington has advised the minister, adding that "it is a strange clause in the Act which seeks to use anger and violence as a defence. It has in practice been used largely to support current prejudices." Rainbow Wellington highlighted the brutal 2003 killing of Auckland celebrity decorator David McNee, in which provocation was successfully used to have a charge of murder relegated to manslaughter. On average one gay man is brutally killed in New Zealand every year on the basis of his sexuality, and many more cases of assault and abuse go unreported. The cases of Stanley Waipouri, mutilated and beaten to death in Palmerson North in December 2006, and Ronald Brown, who was killed in his Auckland home two weeks ago, are currently before the courts. Rainbow Wellington told the minister it believes there would be "overwhelming support in the House for such a law change," and is urging her to "consider the Law Commission report’s recommendations most seriously."    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Friday, 21st December 2007 - 1:03am

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