Friday, 2 September 2011

The Gay Panic Defence, going strong

After threatening to kill Larry King, Brendan McInerney came to school, with a gun and shot him.

Threatened to kill him, planned to kill him, arrived armed to kill him, then killed him. Or, to put it another way, text book pre-meditated murder.

The defence? Larry's demeanour and clothing (he sometimes wore women's clothes) and highly dubiously alleged “come ons” so enraged, disturbed and horrified Brendan that in a fit of calculasted murderous planning he committed pre-meditated murder. Or, to put it another way, the gay panic defence.

Actually, it's not the gay panic defence. The gay panic defence implies, well, panic. It's “oh god the gay is coming on to me, rage hate, attack!” I don't think anyone's “panic” manifests itself as waiting patiently, getting a weapon and coming back on a different day and murdering someone. It's actually an even WORSE defence than the gay panic defence. We don't just have a gay come-on being an excuse to lash out in horror – but a gay come-on is an excuse to plan pre-meditated murder.

And was the defence laughed out of court? Was any testimony along these disgusting lines banned? Were the teachers slapped down for allowing such homophobia in their classrooms? Nope – in fact they were chided for not policing Larry King enough. There have been days of grossly homophobic testimony about the terribad gay

And as for the trial? There has been a mistrial – because the jury can't decide if it was manslaughter or not (the majority is pushing for manslaughter in fact). Yup, pre-meditated gay panic manslaughter.

I could say more, but others have already made it clear. And written extremely good summaries. And, frankly, as both a gay man and a lawyer I'm too disgusted by the whole trainwreck.