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Thursday 15 April 2010

Parliament abolishes Partial Defence of Provocation

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News Staff - 26th November 2009

The defence tactic which has seen several killers of gay New Zealand men get a lighter sentence of manslaughter instead of murder has been struck off the law books today.

The Crimes (Provocation Repeal) Amendment Bill passed by 116 votes to five, with only the ACT Party voting against it.

Known formally as the Partial Defence of Provocation, the provision in criminal law gives a killer an opening to claim that he or she was sufficiently provoked by the victim that he 'lost control', as any 'ordinary person' would in the circumstances.

It has been used repeatedly for decades by killers to claim that an alleged sexual overture by a gay man was sufficient to partially justify a sudden, brutal and deadly assault.

"I believe that this bill is an important step towards a society where violence is condemned, where unremorseful killers are not given the opportunity to publically impugn their victims, and where the victims of crime can feel a little safer," said Labour MP Charles Chauvel today in Parliament.

"Remember those for whom this repeal comes too late," he added. "May they be the last to have their ordeals impugned in a court of law. Not one of their deaths is tolerable, and each of the victims whose killer has used the partial defence of provocation – successfully or not - stands as a silent witness to this reform.

"In closing, I want to pay tribute to their families and loved ones, who know that their lives were not lost in vain."

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