Australia Set to Fully Outlaw ‘Gay Panic’ Defense

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10/16/2020

The state of South Australia is poised to eliminate the controversial gay defense provision that allows defendants to claim their reaction to a person’s sexual orientation can be considered as a mitigating factor at trial. Reuters reports the state’s parliament considered a reform bill which eliminated the provision, but the body adjourned until next month without taking a vote. South Australia is the only state in the country that allows the defense under its criminal code. “It’s a fantastic step that it’s finally introduced,” Matthew Morris, head of South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance (SARAA) which organized a petition to overturn the provision along with Equality Australia, told Reuters. “I’m hoping it will pass quickly, it’s long overdue.” The rarely used provision allows for murder charges to be reduced to manslaughter in certain cases. The defense was most recently used in 2016 in the case of Andrew Negre who was murdered by Michael Joseph Lindsay. Negre had allegedly triggered Lindsay by making a joke about paying him for sex, but the court did not accept this explanation and found Lindsay guilty of murder.

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