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Provocation a justifiable defence

Gordon Copeland

Tuesday, 30th October 2007

Provocation a justifiable defence

The Law Commission's call for removing provocation as a defence to murder has connotations similar to the new anti smacking law, says independent MP Gordon Copeland.

The Commission, headed by former Labour leader Sir Geoffrey Palmer, has issued a report urging the Government to remove the defence of provocation, due to misuse.

But independent MP Gordon Copeland draws comparisons to Sue Bradford's Labour and National endorsed bill removing parental action as a defence to smacking a child.

The independent MP says while provocation was never an issue in the Bradford bill, there were similar questions arising.

"Why is the law commission pushing this issue when the Law Society says provocation has only been successful in four out of 81 cases over four years?"

Mr Copeland said that during the anti smacking debate there were several cases where the courts rejected the parenting defence, which showed the law was already adequate.

"Yet Bradford, National, and Labour still voted to change the law. Now we have a tiny number of successful defence cases using provocation - two battered woman, and two men after unwelcome homosexual advances, and suddenly Sir Geoffrey Palmer wants it out."

Mr Copeland referred to a Fairfax weekend story where the Law Society criminal law committee convener Jonathan Krebs said the Commission's report was flawed.

"Let's leave well alone. These defences have worked in the past and I see no need for change."


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