Provocation repeal bill reported back

The Justice & Electoral Select Committee has reported back the bill to repeal the partial defence of , with unanimous support. They make one change:

We note that the codification of the partial defence of provocation was a reflection of the existing common law partial defence. For the avoidance of doubt, we recommend inserting new clause 5 to make it clear that the common law partial defence would also be abolished by the bill.

They also address some of the myths:

Proponents of the statutory partial defence of provocation have suggested that abolishing it might unfairly prejudice certain groups of defendants, such as “battered” or mentally ill or impaired defendants, whom society would rather see convicted of manslaughter than murder. The Law Commission in its report The Partial Defence of Provocation,1 reviewed all homicide cases in the Auckland and Wellington areas from 2001 to 2005, and found that in only one of the 15 cases in which the partial defence was relied upon was it successfully proven by a battered defendant.

And they note:

We consider that for the majority of such defendants it would be more appropriate for them to rely on self-defence, which would result in an acquittal rather than a manslaughter conviction.

And for mentally impaired defendants:

We further note that as the partial defence requires a defendant to have the power of self-control of an ordinary person, mentally impaired defendants would generally be precluded from relying upon it. Therefore abolishing the statutory partial defence of provocation would not adversely affect mentally impaired defendants.

Whale Oil disagrees with the law change, and notes the disturbing trend for those using the defence to be long-haired gingas with goatee beards.

Hat Tip: No Right Turn

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