A High Court decision to quash a murder conviction has prompted a fresh inquiry into the use of “gay panic” defence in South Australia.
Michael Joseph Lindsay was handed a jail sentence of at least 23 years after he was found guilty of murdering Andrew Negre, who was bashed and stabbed to death in 2011.
In an appeal to the High Court, his lawyer Marie Shaw QC, argued Mr Negre had caused Lindsay to lose control by making unwanted sexual advances.
She also argued the trial judge had misdirected the jury in the case on the subject of provocation, which can act as a partial defence and can reduce murder to manslaughter.
In quashing the conviction and ordering a retrial, the court found the provocation in Lindsay’s case “had a larger dimension than merely an unwanted homosexual advance on a heterosexual man”, pointing to other factors including that Mr Negre was a guest at Lindsay’s home.
In light of the decision, Greens MP Tammy Franks (pictured) has renewed a call for the gay panic defence for murder to be abolished.
“It only applies when it’s claimed that it was a homosexual male advance,” she told the ABC.
“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.
“It doesn’t apply if a woman makes a non-violent sexual advance to a man or a woman. It doesn’t apply if a man makes a non-violent sexual advance to a woman.”
In 2013, when Lindsay was convicted, Ms Franks introduced a bill to abolish the gay panic defence, but it was reviewed and knocked back.
She has welcomed the decision to reopen the review.
“I think that’s an admission that the committee got it wrong and I hope the Parliament can get it right.”
Queensland is the only other state which allows a gay panic defence.
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