Qld 'gay panic' defence to be scrapped

File image Source: Getty

Queensland's Attorney-General hopes to introduce an amendment to scrap the so-called "gay panic defence" into parliament by the end of the year.

The Queensland government hopes to introduce changes to scrap the state's so-called "gay panic" defence into parliament by the end of the year.

Under current Queensland legislation, accused murderers can use unwanted sexual advances as a partial defence.

The defence has been used twice in the sunshine state in recent years, including in the case of Richard John Meerdink and Jason Andrew Pearce.

The duo was jailed for the 2008 manslaughter of Wayne Robert Ruks in after bashing him in the grounds of a Maryborough church.

A defendant invokes the "gay panic defence" by relying on claims of provocation under section 304 of the state's criminal code, allowing for a charge of murder to be downgraded to manslaughter.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath, who in May reiterated the government's intention to scrap the defence, on Tuesday tabled a petition that garnered 433 signatures.

"I anticipate introducing the amendment to section 304 of the Criminal Code into the Legislative Assembly later this year," she said.

"Both past and present Queensland Labor governments have demonstrated significant commitment to addressing the issue of the use of an unwanted sexual advance establishing a partial defence to murder."

Principal petitioner Phil Carswell, in calling for the changes, described the current interpretation of the law as "completely archaic".

"It is impossible to articulate just how offensive, dangerous and destructive it would be to allow this defence to remain unaddressed in our Criminal Code, upholding the precedent that a person can be panicked enough by a LGBTIQ person to justify murder," the petition read.

Opposition leader Tim Nicholls said his party had called for the matter to be addressed since last year.

"I understand that the attorney has referred it to some legal groups but it hasn't gone to the full Queensland Law Reform Commission," he said.

Mr Nicholls said if Labor wanted the Liberal National Party's support on the changes, Ms D'Ath should hold discussions with them.

"We'd certainly look very favourably on such an amendment."

Source AAP

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch