SA to dump provocation defence

SA AG Vickie Chapman says provocation as a defence will be removed from the state's criminal code.
SA AG Vickie Chapman says provocation as a defence will be removed from the state's criminal code.

The defence of provocation will be removed from South Australia's criminal code by the end of the year, Attorney-General Vickie Chapman says.

The government will draft a bill for extensive public consultation before bringing reforms to the parliament.

"The fact that an outdated legal position such as this still exists is disappointing, to say the least," Ms Chapman said on Tuesday.

Provocation includes the so-called gay panic defence, where those accused of serious crimes including murder can argue they were acting in response to unwanted sexual advances.

But Ms Chapman said changes to the laws could also have wider implications, including for victims of domestic violence who kill an abuser in self-defence.

"Abolishing the defence of provocation, of which the so-called gay panic defence is a part, has far broader consequences than just removing this outdated and frankly offensive aspect," she said.

"This is why we have sought to take a considered approach that removes those outdated, discriminatory elements while retaining those elements that are in line with community expectations."

Cabinet has approved the drafting of a bill that reflects the government's response to recommendations from South Australia's Law Reform Institute.

Key stakeholders, including the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Courts Administration Authority and victims' rights groups will be consulted on the draft legislation, with a view to bringing the reforms before the parliament by the end of the year.

South Australia is one of the last states to move on issue.

Australian Associated Press