The use of this defence has gained considerable media attention recently with respect to a man who killed his wife by strangling her and cutting her throat many times with a box cutter. There had been a history of violence. The man was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a six year non-parole period.
Less than a week after sentencing, the NSW Legislative Council has moved a motion to hold an inquiry into the defence of provocation.
The terms of reference for the inquiry include:
That a select committee be appointed to inquire into and report on:
- the retention of the partial defence of provocation including:
(i) abolishing the defence,
(ii) amending the elements of the defence in light of proposals in other jurisdictions,
- the adequacy of the defence of self-defence for victims of prolonged domestic and sexual violence, and
- any other related matters.
The Committee is expected to report by 21 November 2012.
LIZ SNELL is the Law Reform and Policy Co-ordinator at Women’s Legal Services NSW.