An amendment to the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which will make it harder for people to use 'provocation' as an excuse for murder passed Parliament on 14 May 2014 and is waiting assent. We have written extensively about the Crimes Amendment (Provocation) Bill 2014 (NSW) in an earlier post.
According to the Attorney General Brad Hazzard:
We have reformed an old law that was seen as biased against women and blaming the victim for their own murder by ‘causing’ the offender to lose their self-control. Now a person accused of murder can no longer use their partner’s wish to end the relationship or a belief they have been unfaithful as an excuse in court. The new partial defence of provocation cannot be used by someone who kills a person merely because they made a non-violent sexual advance towards them. However, we have ensured that ‘extreme provocation’ remains available as a defence in some cases, including those of women murdering their partners after being subjected to prolonged domestic violence or abuse.
Extreme provocation can still be used as a partial defence where the conduct of the deceased:
- amounts to a serious indictable offence and
- caused the accused to lose self-control and
- could have caused an ordinary person to lose self-control to the extent of intending to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm.
Source: media release, 14 May 2014.
You can find further information about provocation on our research guides:
- Provocation as a partial defence to murder – Crime: HSC Legal Studies
- Provocation as a partial defence to murder – Preliminary Part I: HSC Legal Studies
- You can read about the case that triggered this new legislation in the LIAC Crime Library in Singh v R.