This article was first published on The Sydney Morning Herald website on 22 October 2013.
The O’Farrell government must reconsider their recommendation to retain a restricted version of the controversial partial defence of provocation.
The government has released a draft exposure bill recommending reform of a partial defence that has long attracted criticism and community concern. Under the proposed reform, the defence will be significantly restricted and will be renamed the "partial defence of extreme provocation".
The government’s proposed reform follows on from the April 2013 release of the Final Report of the Select Committee of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the operation of the partial defence of provocation. Provocation is a partial defence to murder, whereby a person who kills another person as a result of a loss of control that was induced by the conduct of the victim may be convicted of manslaughter as opposed to the more serious offence of murder.
Men who kill in unmeritorious contexts have long abused the provocation defence. In the most controversial cases, men who have killed a female intimate partner in response to a relationship separation or an alleged confession of infidelity have been able to avoid a conviction for murder by arguing that it was the non-violent conduct of the victim that provoked them to kill. Consequently, in these cases it is undoubtedly the deceased female victim who ends up on trial in the NSW Supreme Court, not her undisputed killer.
Read the full article on the Sydney Morning Herald website here.