petition to abolish gay panic defence in Queensland

The gay panic defence is a legal defence, usually used to reduce charges of murder or serious assault.

A defendant using the defense claims that they acted in a state of violent temporary insanity because of a psychiatric condition called homosexual panic. In the gay panic defense, the defendant claims that they have been the object of homosexual romantic or sexual advances. The defendant finds the advances so offensive and frightening that it brings on a psychotic state characterized by unusual violence.

This defense has been ruled inadmissible in many jurisdictions because of a complete lack of scientific research to support it.

In Australia it is commonly referred to as the homosexual advance defence.

The defence has been used most notably in two trials in Queensland in 2009 and 2011. In both trials it was claimed that the defendants had flown into a homicidal rage because they had been subjected to a sexual overture from another man.  In each case, the jury found the killer guilty of manslaughter rather than murder and they were given lesser sentences.

The Queensland cases have given rise to a campaign for the abolition of the defence from Queensland statute.

There is a petition on to abolish the gay panic defence, which you should sign to.  226,000 people have signed the petition so far.

In April 2015, the newly elected Queensland Government announced it would change the Criminal Code and a Bill is expected to be introduced into Parliament later this year however there are no definite time lines or no real detail as to the amendments proposed.



Laura McDonnell  | Lawyer


Family & Relationship Law


+61 3 9269 9618




Jodylee Bartal  | Senior Associate


Family & Relationship Law


+61 3 9269 9151