No changes for 'gay panic': Bleijie

FURTHER law reform to stop the use of "non-violent homosexual advances" as a basis for a provocation defence in murder or assault court cases in Queensland has been ruled out.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie told APN he had requested a brief from the department on the issue and would consider the recommendations but this week confirmed he would not make any further amendments "at this time".

Joel Oborn told a national audience at the live Q&A show in Toowoomba last month the potential use of so-called "gay panic defence" for abuse, assault and discrimination made him "feel unsafe in my own state".

Queensland's Criminal Code has a partial defence of provocation which could be used to reduce a conviction from murder to manslaughter where an accused person claimed they were provoked into committing the act.

The gay community raised concerns with the former government that this could be used if a victim claimed someone made a homosexual advance towards them and provoked them.

The Queensland Legislative Assembly already voted in 2011 to amend section 304 redefine the provocation defence so it could not be used based on words alone, other than in extreme circumstances.

But former attorney-general Paul Lucas had committed to changing the wording of the law further in January after recommendations from a special committee established in November, 2011, after the gay community raised concerns.

The recommendation from retired Court of Appeal Judge John Jerrard said homosexual advocacy groups PFLAG and the LGBTI Legal Service were concerned about homophobic or unsympathetic juries.

There is now a petition to have the law further amended at www.change.org/petitions/eliminate-the-gay-panic-defence-from-queensland-law-gaypanic.

Mr Bleijie said it was important to understand the defence of provocation was not based on sexuality and was open to any Queenslander.

"The laws were strengthened making provocation as a whole harder to establish as a defence," he said.

"To date, these strengthened provocation laws have not been used in a murder trial and only took effect in April, 2011.

"The LNP remains tough on crime, however, given these laws are yet to be tested, does not intend to make any further amendments to the provocation defence at this time." 


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