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The 'jealous man's' defence lives on in the English criminal courts

This month the Home Secretary Theresa May MP announced a major review in England and Wales of how police respond to domestic violence. The much-needed review comes in the wake of several high profile cases of women killed by former male partners with a recorded history of violence against women. These cases, including the deaths of Clare Wood and Maria Stubbings, have rightly led to community concern as to why victims of domestic violence are not better responded to, and protected, by the police.

Taking a stand against family violence must occur in the courts

Last month the Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and AFL chief Andrew Demetriou came together to encourage the Victorian community to ‘take a stand’ against family violence. Part of a family violence campaign, the ‘Take a Stand’ initiative focuses on reducing family violence through increased awareness and by encouraging members of the community to take responsibility for preventing and reporting incidents of family violence.

In urging the community to take a stand against family violence and to end the veil of silence that often surrounds this type of victimisation, it is important that a clear message on the unacceptability of family violence is sent from the highest levels of our criminal justice system. The courts and members of the judiciary can play a key role in denouncing the use of violence within the home and ensuring that a central message is sent to the community that domestic violence will not tolerated and will not be excused by our justice system.

Why South Australia must abolish the partial defence of provocation

Provocation is a partial defence to murder, which has attracted controversy and critique in every Australian criminal justice system except South Australia … until now.

Courtesy of concerns surrounding the ‘gay panic’ defence, South Australia has joined the provocation debate and has already begun to take steps to minimising the application of this controversial law. 

Provocation is a partial defence to murder which where successfully raised reduces what would otherwise be murder to manslaughter. A reduction in culpability that has a significant impact in sentencing. It is based on the premise that a degree understanding should be afforded to those who lose their self-control and perpetrate lethal violence in response to provocative conduct on the part of the victim, or a third party.

Can Australian LNG projects stay competitive?

In less than a year, the Australian LNG landscape has gone from a feeling of euphoria to one of increasing negativity and pessimism. There is no doubt that the pendulum of sentiment tends to overshoot both extremes – the scale of the exuberance of 2010-2012 was, in hindsight, unjustified and unprecedented in the global LNG arena. Similarly, the pervasive pessimism today may be self-destructive if left unchecked. However, I will argue that some degree of caution is the prudent strategy when facing increasing uncertainty, and may be better for the long term competitiveness of the Australian LNG industry.

Sentencing should be based on just desserts, not pot luck

THE community outrage at the fact Adrian Bayley was free to kill Jill Meagher is justified. But the focus of the outrage shouldn't be on the parole board for not rescinding Bayley's parole (for offending while on parole). It should be on the fact Bayley was given only 11 years' jail with a minimum of eight years for the brutal rape of five women, after having been jailed previously for rape.

That an offender could be imprisoned for as little as eight years for gratuitously and violently stripping five women of their sexual integrity highlights the catastrophic failings of our sentencing (anti)-system.

Legitimising lethal male violence: why defensive homicide needs to be abolished

 This article was first published at The Conversation on the 29th May 2013

Research published last week revealed that from November 2005 to September 2012, 18 of the 22 cases of defensive homicide in Victoria resulted from homicides perpetrated by a male offender upon a male victim. 
 
Just one case during this period involved a male perpetrator and a female victim. In contrast to the dominant use of the offence by males, there have been just three female offenders convicted of defensive homicide in the first seven years of the offence’s operation.

For the full article, please see: https://theconversation.com/legitimising-lethal-male-violence-why-defens...

 

NSW parliamentary inquiry recommends partial reform to provocation law

This article was first published at The Conversation on the 24th April 2013.

Yesterday, the NSW parliamentary Select Committee on the Partial Defence of Provocation released its final report. The report contains a set of recommendations for reforming a defence that has long attracted criticism.

The committee’s final report shies away from closing the door on provocation completely. It recommends a model of reform that retains but restricts this controversial partial defence.
The report is the result of an inquiry that was formed last June in response to community outrage surrounding the trial and sentencing of Chamanjot Singh, who was convicted for killing his wife, Manpreet Kaur.
 

Time to act - provocation must be rejected as an excuse for murder.

This opinion piece first appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 20 February 2013.

On Wednesday, the Select Committee of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the partial defence of provocation will release its final report recommending reform to a law that has long animated debate and attracted criticism.

Sport, drugs, organised crime and memories of scandals past

 

We are surprisingly poor judges how a particular event will make us feel into the future. In other words, we rely on how we feel right now to predict how we might feel about something later. Psychologists call it affective forecasting.

Pointing the Finger - who are the dopers who are the organised criminals?

As Spain’s Operacion Puerto trial neared the end of its second week, the Australian Crime Commission has released a report that exposes what it calls widespread doping in many Australian sports along with links to organized crime involved in the supply of doping products and match fixing. This report follows up the USADA Armstrong case and further exposes the lie peddled in the Anglo American world that doping in sport is something that only happens somewhere else, for example in European countries like Spain or in sports like cycling.
 

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