This article was first published on The Age website on 27 June 2014.
Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark has called time of death for the offence of defensive homicide. The government's bill, which was introduced in Parliament on Wednesday, represents a significant step forward in ensuring just responses to lethal violence in the Victorian criminal justice system.
In its short life the controversial offence has attracted much media attention, political scrutiny and community concern. Since it was introduced in late 2005, defensive homicide has acted as an alternative offence to murder in 32 cases involving 34 offenders (two cases involved multiple offenders convicted of defensive homicide) and 33 victims (only one case involved multiple victims). Of those convicted of defensive homicide, 29 offenders were male and five were female.
As is evident from these statistics, the majority of cases have involved lethal violence between a male offender and male victim, often arising from a one-off confrontation typically exacerbated by the presence and use of a weapon.
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