LNP eyes gay panic law reform

QUEENSLAND'S new government will consider law reform to stop the use of "non-violent homosexual advances" as a basis for a provocation defence in murder or assault court cases.

Joel Oborn told a national audience at the live Q&A show in Toowoomba on Monday the potential use of so-called "gay panic defence" for abuse, assault and discrimination made him "feel unsafe in my own state".

"I just want to know when my state will stop treating me like a second class citizen," he said.

Queensland's Criminal Code has a partial defence of provocation which could be used to reduce a conviction from murder to manslaughter where an accused person claimed they were provoked into committing the act.

The gay community raised concerns with the former government that this could be used if a victim claimed someone made a homosexual advance towards them and provoked them.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said on Thursday he had requested a brief from the department on the issue and would consider the recommendations.

But he said he wanted to make it clear a provocation defence was open to any Queenslander and not based on sexuality.

"In addressing the particular law reform issue of the use of non-violent homosexual advances as a basis for the defence of provocation, the LNP supports, in principle, the concept that persons should not be able to rely on section 304 of the Criminal Code simply because of a minor touching incident or unwanted sexual advance," he said.

The Queensland Legislative Assembly already voted to amend section 304 to make the provocation defence harder to use so it could not be used based on words alone, other than in circumstances of the most extreme and exceptional character, in 2011.

But former Attorney-General Paul Lucas had committed to changing the wording of the law further in January after recommendations from a special committee established in November, 2011, after the gay community raised concerns.

The recommendation from retired Court of Appeal Judge John Jerrard said homosexual advocacy groups PFLAG and the LGBTI Legal Service were concerned about homophobic or unsympathetic juries.

"It is not possible to remove sexual advances completely without affecting situations such as that of a battered woman who knows that her refusal of a sexual advance from her partner is a precursor to assault and she takes immediate action to stop this from happening," Mr Lucas said at the time.

"There is no place for these kinds of acts in a civilised society.

"These amendments make it crystal clear that someone making a pass at someone is not grounds for a partial defence and by no means an excuse for horribly violent acts."

An Opposition spokeswoman said Labor still supported the stance and did not believe anyone "should be able to use a claim of non-violent homosexual advance to reduce a conviction from murder to manslaughter".



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