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Thursday 09 October 2008

'Understandable' assaults, 'justifiable' murders

Posted in: Features, True Stories
By - 11th June 2007

Next time you hear anti-gay ranters such as John Tamihere or Brian Tamaki or John Banks claim that there are no consequences from their 'just speaking their mind' on their negative attitudes to gays and lesbians (actually, they seem to mostly ignore lesbians and obsess mostly on gay men and the male-to-female transgendered) consider what a mood of intolerance towards glbt folk can sanction.

This damn scary, and frankly incomplete, list includes some cases in which defence lawyers put forward the Homosexual Panic Defence, a devious courtroom tactic much beloved of those New Zealanders who murder and maim gays for sport - a defence which is at last coming up for legal review.

Homosexual Panic Defense in essence justifies extreme violence against homosexuals because the victim's sexuality allegedly engenders understandable panic in the assailant. For example, if a woman places a hand on an allegedly straight guy's hand, that's just 'making a pass.' Phwoar! But if another guy places a hand on the same thigh it's acceptable to savagely attack or kill him because nothing is more naturally abhorrent to an otherwise decent red-blodded kiwi male that the presence or attentions of a poof. Or so the reasoning goes. And judges and juries currently have to take that defence seriously as a mitigating factor!

This list may not be 100% comprehensive but it clearly indicates the disturbing levels of violence occurring throughout the country.

ROBERT HUNT, 2004 (pictured in our front page introduction to this article)
Hunt, a ‘quiet stamp collector', aged 55 was stabbed 42 times in his home by 18 year-old Dick Faisauvale, who held him by the throat during the stabbing. The defence was that Hunt made an unwanted sexual advance toward Faisauvale, who allegedly believed Hunt was going to rape and physically attack him, ultimately provoking Faisauvale to kill.

However it emerged that Faisauvale and Hunt had previously had a casual sexual relationship and Faisauvale also acknowledged during the trial that he had been paid to have sex with other men. Faisauvale was convicted of murder and jailed for life with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years.

Craig Ross, 31, had worked on Robert Green's farm on and off since he was 16. On the night of 12 August 2004, Ross came up behind Green and shot him in the back of the head with a sawn-off shotgun.

On trial for the murder of Green, Ross's defence was provocation on the basis that Green had pressured Ross over time to have a homosexual relationship with him. According to Ross, on the afternoon of 12 August, Green got into bed with Ross naked from the waist down and sexually assaulted him. Ross's provocation defence was not accepted and he was found guilty of murder.

Barry Hart, 56, was killed by his nephew by marriage, Amsheen Ali, 16, during a barbecue at Hart's house where they had been smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol. At the time of the killing, only Hart and Ali remained at the house. Hart began to hug him, rubbing his hands over Ali's body, and attempted to kiss him on the neck. Ali alleged that he was scared that Hart would rape him and pushed him away on a number of occasions. Ali then grabbed a knife and stabbed Hart at least five times in the back, chest and neck.

The defence of provocation was accepted even though there was no evidence at all, that Hart was a ‘dominant homosexual lacking in self-control, violent and predatory'. Ali was sentenced to just three years in prison.

Celebrity interior decorator David McNee was bashed to death by Philip Layton Edwards in 2003 after McNee hired Edwards for solicitation. Edwards admitted to losing count of how many times he punched McNee in the face; however post-mortem examinations revealed McNee suffered anywhere between 30 to 50 blows to the head. McNee lay dying in his own blood and vomit for up to an hour, while Edwards showered, stole money, liquor, clothes and a car from McNee's residence. Although Edwards was a known male prostitute, his defence was that he was not gay, however did agree to perform an erotic act on a ‘look but don't touch' basis. Edwards assaulted McNee when he touched his anus.

Despite the evidence of the degree of brutality and lack of remorse Edwards portrayed - for instance, blood splatters on the walls, floor and ceiling, and reports of Edwards boasting about the killing while joyriding in the victim's car - the defence attorney managed to seduce the jury on the grounds of provocation.

John Sorrenson, 57, picked up Hitchhiker Jason Fergusson, 20, in June 2002. Sorrenson invited Fergusson back to his home where he stayed the weekend. During this time, Sorrenson admitted to Fergusson of having feelings for him. While Fergusson was using the shower, Sorrenson allegedly came in uninvited and fondled his genitals. Fergusson then pushed him away and hit him three times. Sorrenson ran out of the bathroom, pursued by Fergusson who smashed a vase and a plate over his head, threw other ornaments at him and hit him on the head several time with a steel poker. When Sorrenson got to his feet, Fergusson, allegedly in fear of being indecently touched again, grabbed a knife and stabbed Sorrenson in the back three times. He then buried him in a shallow grave in a nearby forest.

Fergusson told police that he had previously been assaulted by a man, thus making him particularly sensitive to Sorrenson's approach. The defence of the case was that ‘the horror of unwanted homosexual advances festered away in his mind, becoming part of his psyche'. The defence also argued that ‘the average New Zealander would have acted the same way if provoked to the same extent'.

Fergusson's defence of provocation, based on Sorrenson's actions, was not however, accepted by the jury who returned with a guilty verdict after deliberating for three hours.

Reported, 10 July 2001: Jason Johnson was murdered at Whakamaru, Waikato. Ratima Osborne Jnr, and his father Ratima Osborne Snr, were arrested for the murder. The police stated that it was a gay hate crime.

Reported, 19 April 2001: Jeff Pinfold and Peter Kitchen were assaulted after leaving a Napier Bar by Dallas Peneha, Daniel Beams, and Jack Blance. Beams' girlfriend at the time of the attack witnessed it, and stated that one of them said, "Let's fuck these gay guys up." Kitchen later died of his injuries in Hawkes Bay Hospital on 23 April 2001

Unreported, 30 December 2000: Malcolm Vaughn and his partner Scott Kennedy were both violently assaulted with half an hour of each other at Tatou night club in Wellington. Both assaults were preceded by anti gay taunts. Kennedy, the first attacked, was left with a black eye and other facial injuries. Vaughn was left with bodily and facial injuries and a broken arm. The cases were not reported to the Police.

The Queen v Andrew Andre Poki and Philip James Taylor, 24 March 2000, (heard November/December 2000, Auckland High Court): Poki and Taylor claimed that Stephen Byrne tried to kiss them. They assaulted him driving him head first into a wall in Fort Lane, Auckland, smashed his head into the ground and stomped on him. Byrne was found unconscious in a pool of blood. Part of his brain had to be removed as a result of the assault, and he cannot remember anything that occurred after he left work at Cin Cin restaurant. As a result of the operation, he has little short-term memory.

Poki and Taylor each blamed the other for the assault and were both acquitted by the jury of an attempted murder charge, but Taylor had already plead guilty to assault and grievous bodily harm. Poki was found guilty of the grievous bodily harm and aggravated robbery. Taylor was sentenced to 7 years jail, reduced due to his early guilty plea, and Poki to 10 years jail. Justice Nicolson stated, "I am satisfied on the evidence that this was indeed a senseless hate crime". Detective Sergeant Kevin Hooper, investigating the case, said this was one of the worst attacks he had seen. Counsel for Poki was Chris Comesky, counsel for Taylor was Steve Cullen, Crown Prosecutor was Brian Dickie.

Reported, 25 November 1999: Justin Cotton and his partner Gordon Darragh were at Remuera's Commerce Club, when other people became abusive. They were asked to leave, and while attempting to do so, were punched and pushed. "Get out ya faggots", and "piss off poofters" were shouted during this. A complaint was laid with the Human Rights Commission. Darragh suffered a black eye and grazes.

Reported, 2 September 1999: Carmillarose Govan, a fourth former, stayed away from school for over a week after she was verbally abused over a period of months, culminating in physical violence, aimed at her by fellow pupils at Waitakere College, because she identifies as lesbian. One student was "stood down" and a further two suspended because of activities against Govan.

Unreported, 14 May 1999. John Callahan was walking home up Cuba Mall, Wellington, when a group who were shouting anti gay remarks at him approached him. Near the Bristol, two of them attacked him, leaving him with bruised ribs and facial injuries. He sought medical aid but did not report it to the Police.

Unreported, 30 April 1999: Michael Johnson was walking home along Manners Mall, when he was pushed over after being called "faggot". He sustained grazes to his hands, but was able to escape before anything further happened. He stayed in KFC until he was sure his attackers had gone. He did not report it to the Police.

SIMON, 1999
Unreported, 8 May 1999. Simon was crossing Manners St on the west side of Manners Mall, Wellington, and was assaulted, receiving bruised ribs. He did not seek medical attention or report the case to the police. The time of day was earlier than the above case, and he states that the attackers were not the same.

The Queen v Jason Morris Meads and Stephen James Smith, 8 May 1999 (heard October 1999, District Court Wellington, November, December 1999 at the High Court, Wellington): Smith and Meads picked Jeff Whittington up outside the Shell petrol station in Vivian St, offered him a ride home, but drove him to Inverlochy Place. There they assaulted him by punching and kicking him, causing severe facial and head injuries, and abdominal injuries causing a perforated bowel. Boot marks were found on his skull after one of the defendants jumped on his head.

Jeff later died in Wellington hospital of brain swelling and perforations to his bowel. Smith and Meads then went to the Kensington Inn on Kensington Rd before going home. When they got home, they told one of the people there that they had "fucked up a faggot and left him for dead". Meads also stated: "The faggot was bleeding out of places I have never seen before". Smith was laughing when this was said.

The pathologist said that there were at least 6-8 blows but this was difficult to ascertain as they were superimposed. There were 5 clear blows to the top part of the head, as well as blows that caused injuries to the victim's nose, lips and cheek. While the defence sought manslaughter verdicts, they were found guilty of murder and given the compulsory life sentence by Justice Wild. They appealed the verdict to the Court of Appeal, and in a judgment given on 20 April 2000, Goddard, speaking for himself, Eillis J, and Richardson P, dismissed the appeal. Ken Stone was the Crown Prosecutor, Mike Antunovic was counsel for Smith, and Bruce Davidson was counsel for Meads.

Unreported, 30 April 1999: Michael Johnson was walking home along Manners Mall, when he was pushed over after being called "faggot". He sustained grazes to his hands, but was able to escape before anything further happened. He stayed in KFC until he was sure his attackers had gone. He did not report it to the Police.

Unreported, 24 April 1999: Colin McLean was violently attacked in Courtney Place, Wellington, opposite Midnight Espresso. Commencing with verbal abuse about "fags", McLean was attacked from behind. Police officers were in a car on the other side of Courtney Place, near Midnight Espresso, but did not intervene. For this reason, McLean, who required hospitalisation, did not report the case to the Police.

Unreported, 16 April 1999: the victim who does not want to be identified, was assaulted on Dixon St. Though he received a bleeding nose, he did not seek medical treatment and did not report the case to the Police.

Regina v Jason Scott Neil, August 1997, (heard November 1997, Napier District Court): Scott had befriended an intellectually handicapped man, described as having the learning and mental capacity of a 4-7 year old. The victim ran errands for Scott and an another friend. In August 1997, the three argued, and the victim called Scott "gay". Scott said that the victim had told other people that Scott was gay, and he saw it as an affront to his manhood. Scott punched the victim several times around the head. The victim suffered severe bruising to his right eye and some bruising to his face, and suffered from headaches and other discomfort for some time after the attack. Judge John Hole sentenced Scott to 3 months periodic detention on 28 November 1997.

Regina v Patrick Clotworthy, May 1997: Wayne Cowan was assaulted in a side street off Karangahape Rd, and stabbed twice by Clotworthy who shouted anti gay comments. Cowan suffered from a punctured diaphragm and was admitted to Auckland Hospital. Clotworthy later plead guilty, was sentenced by Auckland District Court Judge Thorburn to a 2 year suspended sentence and to pay costs amounting to $15,000 for reconstructive plastic surgery. On appeal by the Crown, Justice Tipping sentenced Clotworthy to two years imprisonment and a fine of $5000 reparation, stating it would have been five years, if Clotworthy had not come a restorative justice agreement with Cowan.

Unreported, February 1997: When the misleading American fundamentalist-Christian produced video "Gay Rights/Special Rights: Inside the Homosexual Agenda" was shown in Wellington, there were 15 cases of anti-gay violence in the week following. Four of these resulted in overnight or minor hospitalisation. Anti-gay comments were made during and after the attacks.

Regina v Bryan James Gardiner, May 1997, (heard May 1997, Christchurch High Court): Gardiner assaulted David Shore after Shorereputedly grabbed Gardiner's penis and came on to him. Gardiner and Shore met at a gay bar in Christchurch and Gardiner went back to Shore's hotel room. It was there that Gardiner claimed Shore grabbed his penis and came on to him. Gardiner threw Shore onto the bed and drew a knife he had in his pocket, stabbing Shore "two or three times". Gardiner drew a star and 666 on the bathroom mirror before leaving.

Regina v Smith, February 1997, (heard at the District Court, Wellington, May 1998): Smith was captured on camera throwing eggs at the Devotion Parade, and his number plate was obtained on the following Monday. Seven complaints were reported to the Police in regard to this incident, but the investigating officer, Detective Brett Kane, dismissed it. After questions had been raised in Parliament, the Police reopened the case, but took another year to complete investigations. Smith was finally arrested for another matter, and this one was then actioned. At the time he had been wearing a T-shirt with the word "Fag" on it encircled and crossed out in red. He was found guilty on one charge and sentenced to $500 fine plus court costs.

Unreported, 23 June 1996: A Rotorua man was violently assaulted near the lake. His assailant made anti gay comments during the attack.

Regina v Buddy Edward Campbell, (heard at the High Court, Napier, 18 December 1996): Campbell kidnapped and murdered his friend Clinton Maru Gray after the two of them were asked by a third party if they were gay. Maru responded he was gay. When asked why he committed the actions against Gray, Campbell responded with "Because he was". Campbell was sentenced to a minimum 10 years imprisonment.

Unreported, July 1996: When the video "AIDS: What You Haven't Been Told" was shown in Christchurch, there were 10 cases of anti-gay and anti-lesbian violence reported to the Christchurch Aotearoa Anti-Violence Project in the week following the showings. Three of these required hospitalisation. In one case, the victim was told "Die AIDS faggot" as he left the showing, and when attacked near the Square later that night the same words were used. In each case, similar anti-gay comments were made before and during each attack.

Unreported, March 1996: When the video "Gay Rights/Special Rights: Inside the Homosexual Agenda" was shown in Nelson, there were 5 incidents of anti-gay and anti-lesbian violence reported to Spectrum, three of which occurred that night, the other two later in the same week. Anti-gay and anti-lesbian comments were made during each attack.

Unreported, February 1996: When the video "AIDS: What You Haven't Been Told" was again shown, there were 12 incidents of anti-gay violence in the week following the showing. Only one of these were reported to the Police after it resulted in overnight hospitalisation. One other case resulted in hospitalisation for head injuries. Anti-gay comments were made during and after the attacks.

Reported, 26 October 1995: two gay men were assaulted in separate incidents in Custom St. Auckland, near the toilets. In one case, the attacker was described as Maori, in the other, two assailants were described. In both cases, anti gay comments were made. The first victim did not report it to the Police, but the second did. An arrest was made, but no further details were reported.

Reported, 14 September 1995: two separate incidents of assault were reported near No Names bar in Christchurch. In both cases, anti gay epithets were called before the physical assault ensued. These were the latest in a series of assaults near the bar over a two-month period.

Reported, August 1995: Patrick Cain and his partner were assaulted on Victoria St, Wellington, after leaving Caspers. Initially they were threatened and anti gay comments were made by a group of three men and two women. During the assault, Patrick was pushed to the ground and beaten and kicked. His partner ran off towards the police station. The police were not helpful initially, but arrested the people responsible later in Willis St.

Patrick and his partner were told the assault was the first offence by the two men who initiated the assault, and were asked if they would agree to diversion. They did so, but found out later (after diversion had been granted) from Victim Support that it was not the first offence and diversion should never have been offered. Details of the assailants were suppressed due to diversion being granted.

Unreported, May 1995: When the video "Gay Rights/Special Rights: Inside the Homosexual Agenda" was shown in Hamilton, there were 8 anti-gay attacks, each preceded by anti gay comments. TV1 Footage of the protest against the showing of the video shows members of Potters House Christian Fellowship physically pushing the protesters, at least one of whom fell over and received grazes to their hands. The footage also makes it clear that the members of the Fellowship made the first attacks against the protesters. Anti-gay epithets were made before and after each attack. Prior to the showing, the Pastor reported to the Waikato Times that "two burly gay men" had threatened his son. Members of the lesbian and gay communities in Hamilton co-operated with the Police. No person matching the descriptions given matched any known gay men in Hamilton. The Police did not believe the claim was genuine, and the Pastor did not report it to them.

Regina v Tai Tahi Marsters, 24 April 1995 (heard at the High Court, Napier, March/April, 1996): After Jim Curtis and Tai Tahi Marsters met up at a Napier bar they returned to Curtis' home. Marsters claimed Curtis made a sexual advance on him, so attacked Curtis with a glass decanter, causing hemorrhaging in the brain, claiming the victim had come on to him and limited his means of escape. Curtis was found unconscious two days after the attack, with at least three blows to his head. Hospitalised, he was given reconstructive surgery and remained in a coma for three weeks. He was unable to appear at the trial because of the injuries received. Marsters was found not guilty by the jury and released. Counsel for the defence was Steve Manning, Crown prosecutor was Sarah Quinn.

Reported, 13 April 1995: Six attacks on gay men in Wellington over the period February to April were reported to the NZAF. A number of similar attacks were reported in Auckland, but a figure was not given.

Unreported, February 1995: When the video "AIDS: What You Haven't Been Told" was shown in Wellington in 1995, there were 7 cases of anti gay violence in the week following, three of which occurred on the night the video was first shown. In each case, anti-gay comments were made before and during the assaults. None of the assaults were reported to the Police. One incident resulted in hospitalisation.

Regina v Carl William Carter and Warren Bruce Carter, 1994, (heard Auckland High Court, April 1995): the Carter brothers were charged with the kidnap and murder of Mark Donovan, a gay man, in Auckland in 1994. While Warren pled guilty, Carl did not and went to trial. There is no report of a conviction for either man.

Regina v Dale Jerome Marlon Campbell, 21 July 1994, (heard 16 August 1995, High Court, Napier): Campbell knew his victim, Ronald Anthony Anderson, as he was a friend of his parents. He hitchhiked to Waipukurau, from Onga Onga, intending to return later that day. Returning, he stopped and had a meal at Waipawa, then walked back to Anderson's house a short distance back along the road. He arranged to pay Anderson to take him back to Waipukurau, helped him shift some wood, and then went inside for a cup of coffee before the ride back to Waipukurau.

Campbell claimed that Anderson put his hand on Campbell's knee and smiled at him during this, which "reminded Campbell of the person who abused him as a child". He hit Anderson twice across the face and head with a poker, and then repeatedly punched him. He picked up a nearby axe and repeatedly hit Anderson with it. He went outside, then later returned and hit Anderson again with the axe. Anderson's skull had been extensively fractured and pushed in, and there were also extensive injuries to his face. The pathologist stated that at least 6 blows had been made, delivered with severe force.

The jury found the defendant guilty and he was sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment. Campbell appealed against both conviction and sentence. The appeal was heard in 1996. The Court of Appeal quashed the case, declaring it a mistrial, as "the Judge's misdirection about proportionality was likely to have misled the jury into believing that proportionality was crucial to the provocation defence". At the second trial, during which Campbell broke down and was reassured by Justice McGechan, no instruction as to proportionality was made, and the defendant was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced to five years imprisonment.

Details suppressed, 30 September 1994: a 21-year-old Tawa man was raped by another Tawa man, 44. Details of the case were suppressed.

Regina v Steffen Wayne Patmore, 3 May 1994 (heard 10 May 1994, District Court, Wellington): Patmore and the victim were drinking in a Wellington bar. Patmore claimed the victim had been winking at him and came on to him. He asked the victim if he was gay, and the victim replied he was. Patmore punched him twice and kicked him three times in the body. Patmore claimed the victim had "been trying to 'come on' to him". Judge Anne Gaskill convicted him after pleading guilty, and sentenced to a fine of $450, plus $95 court costs. Half the fine was to go to the victim. Similar cases have resulted in higher fines and/or periodic detention.

Reported, 18 September 1993: A gay man was violently assaulted by three other men outside the No Names bar in Christchurch. He suffered broken ribs and bruising, and spent the night in Christchurch Hospital. Police investigated, but there is no report of an arrest.

"RUSSELL" & "MARTIN", 1993
Reported, 29 April 1993: "Russell" and "Martin" were walking up Durham St West from Queen St in Auckland on their way to The Bar, and heard cries of "faggot, filthy faggot" behind them. They entered Durham lane, and realised the man was still behind them. The assailant physically assaulted Russell while Martin went to get help. Trying to escape, Russell climbed a fence, but fell, and was then assaulted by the man and three others who had appeared. He escaped and made his way towards Queen St when a young woman, who called the first attacker Jason, accosted him. When he got to Queen St, a couple of police cars went past, but did not come to his aid. His clothing was torn and he was bleeding from injuries to his head and face. Because of the police inaction, he did not report it to the police.

Reported, 3 April 1993: Gay Christians taking part in the March for Jesus in Queen St, Auckland, were verbally and then physically assaulted by other marchers. One of the attackers reportedly said to one of the lesbians, "this is how I show Jesus' love for you" before he punched her.

Reported, 18 February 1993: A gay man, 24, was attacked at Alfies Night Club in Dixon St, Wellington, falling through a first floor window onto the street below, suffering serious head injuries. He was taken to hospital while unconscious. A gay man who had been drinking at the Toledo Bar went to the next door Pavilion bar in the same complex to watch a live band, and was assaulted after being verbally abused, suffering some injury to his mouth. A gay man was hit by a piece of wood in Garrett St after leaving Euroclub. Only the first case was reported to the Police, though they were alerted to the second, and began patrols in the park beside the club.

Regina v Dion Kevin Newham, 26 and 30 January 1991 (heard 1991, sentenced May 1991, High Court Hamilton): Newham stabbed one man in the back as he was walking through Parana Park in Hamilton on 26 January 1991, and on 30 January 1991 followed another man into the Grantham St toilets in Hamilton where he demanded money and forced the man to drive him to Matangi Saleyards, where he stabbed him in the back. Both victims recovered in hospital. Newham's justification for his actions was that he "wanted to kill all homosexuals". He was convicted and sentenced to 10 years 10 months by Mr Justice Fisher. Counsel for the Crown was Louella Dunn, defence counsel are not named in the report.

Regina v Andrew Tewi Samuels, 18 May 1990 (heard March 1991, High Court, Hamilton, before Mr Justice Anderson): Samuels claimed Nicholas Thompson had made a pass at him and responded by grabbing Thompson's penis and twisting it, then, in his words "I panicked. I made sure he did not do it to anyone again".

Thompson's body was found face downward, spread eagled, and stripped except for his socks and T-shirt- his underwear was around one of his ankles. He suffered multiple injuries to his body and face, damage to his anus from a sharp object and damage to his penis. Thompson died as a result of broken ribs puncturing his lungs. Samuels was charged with homicide, but convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter. The length of the sentence does not appear in available records.

There were also two other rapes that occurred that we cannot find reports of. These are only a sample of the crimes committed against gay men.

Original list compiled by Calum Bennachie, updates by Christopher Tran from
Special thanks to Elizabeth McDonald

Corrections and additions may be emailed to or posted in the Bulletin Board 'Attacks and Deaths' topic accessed via the link below.
Please provide as much detail as you can recall, such as year/month, location, nature of attack, victim or assailant details, to assist researchers compile as comprehensive a list as possible.

Indications of incidents and cases both before and during the date range covered above would be equally appreciated. - 11th June 2007