Friday, 27 November 2009

Provocation defence repealed - only Act vote against

Last night Parliament voted to repeal the defence (to murder) of provocation:
The defence of provocation, which can be used to reduce murder to manslaughter, has been abolished.

Parliament passed the repeal bill last night by 116 votes to five, with only the Act Party opposing it.

Justice Minister Simon Power introduced the Crimes (Provocation Repeal) Amendment Bill in August after the Law Commission had twice recommended abolition.

He said at the time the Government considered the law was flawed.

"It effectively provides a defence for lashing out in anger, not just any anger but violent, homicidal rage," Mr Power said.

"It rewards lack of self-control by enabling an intentional killing to be categorised as something other than murder."

...Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party supported the repeal bill and there were cries of "shame" when Act MP David Garrett said his party opposed it.
Click through for the whole article.

Provocation can still be considered as a factor during sentencing.

It's nice to think that something good has come from Sophie Elliot's death. However it would have been even nicer if repeal had happened after the repeated use of the homosexual panic brand of the provocation defence. It shouldn't have taken the brutal murder of a straight, Pakeha woman from a middle class background, and the incredibly offensive defence tactics adopted by Clayton Weatherston, to make people realise this change was necessary.

Idiot/Savant will I'm sure be a happier blogger this morning.


AnneE said...

Actually, there have been many, many murders of straight Pakeha women from all kinds of backgrounds where the perpetrator - a partner or former partner - managed to get away with manslaughter by arguing provocation. One of the best-known was the Minnitt case, which I was involved with denouncing at the time in articles in Broadsheet analysing the defence of provocation and how it was framed in clearly masculist terms. I am absolutely delighted to see the abolition of this defence.

AnneE said...

The Minnitt case was in 1980 btw (just looked it up). David Minnitt shot his wife Leigh point-blank in their bedroom. Her character was vilified in court, he got four years, and he served, from memory, two. 29 years later, his defence is no longer valid.