Provocation Going Going Gone

Both and the Dom Post cal the partial defence to go. First The Press:

The Law Commission was quite correct when it said that the defence of provocation was “irretrievably flawed”. …

The most glaring reason for abolishing the defence is the trauma it causes to the family of the victim and indeed to the relatives of the accused.

The parents and other family members of murder victim Sophie Elliott had already suffered a grievous loss. They then had to endure hearing her personal life and her relationship with Weatherston being dissected in intimate detail as the defence team built its failed provocation argument.

Adding to the inequity was that the only person who could have refuted much of Weatherston’s evidence was the victim herself.

Indeed. It encourages killers to lie when there is no-one to contradict them.

The simplest and best solution to the provocation issue is that suggested by the commission. Abolish the defence and leave it to the judge, when sentencing, to take provocation into account as an aggravating or mitigating factor. The Government must move swiftly to achieve this, either by introducing legislation itself or by helping to facilitate the introduction and passage of a Labour bill.

The Dom Post says:

Section 69 of the Crimes Act says culpable homicide that might otherwise be murder may be reduced to manslaughter “if the person who caused the death did so under provocation”.

It is an archaic part of the law that unconscionably turns the victims of society’s most serious crime into victims for a second time as their reputations are sullied by the people who killed them. …

The Labour-led Clark Government had at least one opportunity to change this obsolete part of the law. The Law Commission delivered a report in 2007 recommending its abolition, but the justice minister was too busy at the time removing people’s election-year rights.

I think that is Mark Burton they are referring to. Ouch.

And finally we turn to this Stuff article for why it is certain to go:

Murderers will no longer be able to claim they were provoked into committing their crime under a law change the government is planning.

Cabinet will consider the proposal in the next two to three weeks but Prime Minister John Key has given his approval, making it almost certain to go ahead.

A key aspect is that as of around 2002, Judges can now give a non parole period of less than 10 years. So in a case where say a mother kills their daughter’s rapist as he is leaving the scene, they would not automatically go to jail for at least ten years.

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