THE LAW AND THE BEAST WITHIN
Today in NSW, senior judicial figures say provocation as a defence for murder should be abolished.
They say they are alarmed and “startled” by recent cases involving the provocation defence, with the DPP Lloyd Babb SC calling for it to be scrapped because it is “illogical” and leads to a “culture of blaming victims”.
His concerns come as a judge told The Daily Telegraph the provocation defence is merely a “ploy to avoid harsher sentence” and was being used successfully by those charged with murder. One senior prosecutor added the defence had been “exploited” by those who commit violent crimes on nothing more than the suspicion of infidelity, with the most recent cases setting “a dangerous precedent.”
Recently, Tracey Spicer wrote on the issue for The Hoopla…
Philosophical matters of law are usually left to the High Court.
However, the NSW Upper House is inquiring into what separates us from animals.
In Renaissance Europe “rational man” was portrayed as someone who “knows, chooses, and acts”. Yet scratch the surface and you will find the beast within.
In the words of novelist and clergyman George Macdonald, “A beast does not know that he is a beast, and the nearer a man gets to being a beast, the less he knows it”.
This seems to be the rationale behind NSW continuing to allow a partial defence of provocation to murder. Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia have abolished it, while Queensland has limited use.
Put simply, the law allows men who’ve killed their partners in a fit of jealous rage to face the lesser charge of manslaughter.
“It is invariably in circumstances where they allege they have been insulted, mocked, humiliated, or spurned,” according to Ken Parish, legal academic at Charles Darwin University.
Another term for it is the ‘gay panic’ defence – used by men who murder to affirm their masculinity after a homosexual advance.
Tragically, it took the death of Sydney woman Manpreet Kaur at the hands of her husband for the law to be re-asessed. Chamanjot Singh slashed her throat eight times with a box cutter. Why? Because he believed she’d been unfaithful. He was sentenced to six years’ jail for manslaughter.
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