Australian lawyer defends ‘gay panic defence’

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The Australian Law Society has said the “gay panic defence” should not be removed from law.

It allows defendants in murder cases to argue that “unwanted sexual advances” by someone of the same sex caused their violent actions, and should be considered when sentencing.

There have been calls to remove this as an option for defendants in Australia, but Rocco Perrotta of The Law Society has rejected this.

He referred to the case of, Michael Joseph Lindsay who was jailed for 23 years after being found guilty of murdering Andrew Negre, who was beaten and stabbed to death in 2011.


He said: “The partial-defence can and does have regard to contemporary community attitudes and standards.

“It is surprising, therefore, that the occasion of the delivery of Lindsey v R has been met with renewed calls for reform concerning the regrettably coined ‘gay panic defence’.


“The common law partial defence has a rationale which, when properly explained to the community, would be seen to be acceptable and consistent with social norms.

“Importantly, the partial-defence works to avoid an inappropriate murder conviction.”

In April, Green MP Tammy Franks urged for the defence to be abolished, saying: “It only applies when it’s claimed that it was a homosexual male advance.

“It’s offensive, it’s homophobic, it needs to be removed from South Australia’s culture.

“This defence only applies in the case of a man who has killed another man.”