Yeah, Alf knows how a good Nat was supposed to vote on the legislation to repeal the use of provocation as a partial defence for murder. But he has more than a sneaking regard for the concerns being expressed in the legal community.
Moreover, he salutes ACT, which was the only party to oppose the repeal bill which passed last night by 116 votes to five.
The legal objections are reported by Stuff.
Wellington lawyer Robert Lithgow, QC, said the repeal was “purely political grandstanding” which served no useful criminal justice purpose.
“It means that people who are in bad domestic, bad sexual circumstances, if they react with a loss of control they are treated the same as a cold-blooded killer.”
Mr Lithgow said he knew of cases where women and young people who had been abused or subjected to sexual abuse had benefited from the provocation defence.
Alf concurs, too, with Auckland lawyer Chris Comeskey who said
the repeal was a “knee-jerk reaction” after the defence was used in some much publicised and unpalatable cases.
However, in those instances the defence had failed which, if anything, proved juries were capable of making informed decisions.
The reality is that there are situations where a person, understandably, can be provoked.
“If you caught an abuser abusing your child, the law now expects you to show the restraint of a saint. Because if you lashed out and death ensued, now you are in very serious trouble.”
Mr Comeskey said the provocation defence was originally introduced because there had been a need for it.
Alf recognises this need.
He can imagine – for example – a situation where he bops the likes of Trevor Mallard, Sue Kedgley or Hone Harawira just because they can be so bloody infuriating that they cry out to be bopped.
Alf is very sure a jury would acquit him for the aforementioned hypothetical bopping, and maybe even nominate him for a knighthood.
If the buggers happened to expire as a result of the bopping, Alf would be jailed for life under the new law. The palpably obvious provocation would be no defence.
Mind you, your average jury would still probably say he deserved a medal.