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South Australia to remove ‘gay panic’ defence from criminal code

The Australian state is the last one to still allow the discriminatory defence

By Steve Brown

South Australia will finally remove the ‘gay panic’ defence from its criminal code this year.

According to The Canberra Times, Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the South Australian government will be drafting a new bill for public consultation before introducing the reform in parliament.

The state is the last one to still allow the defence of provocation on the basis of sexuality which is more commonly known as the ‘gay panic’ defence.

This defence allows murder charges to be downgraded to manslaughter if the killing was in responses to an unwanted sexual advance.

Back in 2017, the South Australian Law Reform Institute recommended that the government abolish the defence.

And now Chapman – who became Attorney-General last year – said it’s disappointing that the discriminatory law still exists.

She said: “The fact that an outdated legal position such as this still exists is disappointing, to say the least.

“Abolishing the defence of provocation, of which the so-called gay panic defence is a part, has far broader consequences than just removing this outdated and frankly offensive aspect.

“This is why we have sought to take a considered approach that removes those outdated, discriminatory elements while retaining those elements that are in line with community expectations.”