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Wayne Ruks – Qld

 

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Sign the Petition to Eliminate the ‘gay panic’ defence from Queensland law #gaypanic

 

 THE ‘GAY PANIC’ PARTIAL DEFENCE TO MURDER - Download audio

 

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Newman: I’ll look at ‘Gay Panic’

Star Observer | 28 February 2012 | View Article

newman

Queensland Opposition Leader Campbell Newman has promised to “look at” the so-called ‘Gay Panic Defense’ legal loophole if elected, but has accused the ALP of playing politics with the term.

Newman used his video response to questions from theOurSay website to address what he calls the ‘Unwanted Homosexual Advances Defense’.

“Unfortunately the ALP has played cynical politics by referring to this issue as the gay panic defense,” he said.

“It’s important to not that the defense of provocation is not based on one sexuality, it’s open to any Queenslander.”

The video was uploaded just a day before Newman seemingly reversed his position on the state’s civil unions scheme, telling the crowd at an Australian Christian Lobby event in Ashgrove that he’d repeal the Civil Partnerships Act “if legally possible” in the event that the Liberal National Party (LNP) wins government this month.

Newman had previously stated that he wouldn’t touch the legislation if a civil union had taken place before the state election.

At a press conference the following day, Newman got agitated when questioned whether his position was consistent with previous comments.

“I’ve spoken about this so many times now, at least three occasions on the public record,” he told reporters in Caboolture.

“If we can, if we get into government, we will repeal it. But that may not be possible, and we don’t wish to leave people in legal limbo.”

When pressed about what would happen to those who had already entered into a civil union if the LNP won government, he refused to be drawn.

“I can’t be clearer than that. We will see, if we become the government,” he said

Openly gay ALP candidate for Glass House Ryan Moore released a statement last night slamming Newman’s mixed messages on the Civil Partnerships Act, saying that the basic rights of gay and lesbian couples would potentially be “trashed” under an LNP Government.

“At the end of last year, the Bligh Labor Government took the bold step of introducing the Civil Partnership Bill to parliament, allowing all Queenslanders, regardless of their sexuality to enter into a legally recognised relationship” Moore said.

“[Newman’s] comments shows a huge violation of trust with the electorate.

“This is nothing to do with marriage or being one of the few openly gay candidates contesting this election. It’s about what my strong beliefs in the right of every Queenslander to be protected under the law. It’s about fairness.”

 

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Qld to close ‘gay panic’ legal loophole

NineMSN News | Jan 25, 2012 | View Article

The Queensland government says it will close the “gay panic” loophole which allows unwanted homosexual advances to be used as a partial defence for violent crimes.

Under Queensland laws, unwanted homosexual or heterosexual advances can be used as a partial provocation defence to violent crimes.

Attorney-General Paul Lucas said the Queensland Law Reform Commission had last week recommended changes to the law, which the government would adopt.

“We made it crystal clear from day one that the Queensland government does not believe that anyone should be able to use a claim of non-violent homosexual advance to reduce a conviction from murder to manslaughter,” Mr Lucas said on Wednesday.

Mr Lucas said the laws would be amended to ensure that an unwanted sexual advance would count as provocation only in “exceptional circumstances”.

“It is not possible to remove sexual advances completely without affecting situations such as that of a battered woman who knows that her refusal of a sexual advance from her partner is a precursor to assault and she takes immediate action to stop this from happening,” he said.

“(But) these amendments make it crystal clear that someone making a pass at someone is not grounds for a partial defence and by no means an excuse for horribly violent acts.”

The legal quirk, which has been abolished in other states, was the focus of an online campaign by Queensland priest Paul Kelly, whose church was the scene of a violent crime.

Richard John Meerdink, 41, and Jason Andrew Pearce, 38, were jailed for the manslaughter of Wayne Robert Ruks, 45, in the grounds of Maryborough’s St Mary’s Catholic Church in July 2008.

The court did not accept their defence that Mr Ruks had followed them to the church and tried to grab Pearce’s crotch before he was punched and kicked to death.

Fr Kelly’s online petition received more than 24,800 signatures and won the backing of English comedian Stephen Fry.

Fr Kelly said he wanted to see the Law Reform report before he would celebrate the decision.

“I am cautiously heartened by the developments but I am calling on the state government to release the expert committee’s report so that the tens of thousands of people who have signed this petition can examine the detail,” he said.

“I am concerned the government is tinkering at the edges of this problem rather than completely eliminating the possibility of the gay panic defence being raised.”

Fr Kelly said he wanted to see the state opposition match the government’s pledge if it came to power following the March 24 election.

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TV time for Father Paul’s gay panic protest

SameSame | Tue 24th Jan, 2012 | View Article

 www.samesame.com.auQueensland priest Father Paul Kelly, who has gathered more than 22,000 supporters for his online campaign to close a legal loophole that allows people accused of murder to defend themselves by claiming ‘gay panic’, will tonight tell his story on Ten’s The Project.

Just over two years ago, a man was brutally killed in Father Paul Kelly’s church grounds in Maryborough. The defendants used the notorious ‘gay panic’ defence – that if someone they think is gay ‘comes onto’ them, the sheer panic they feel is partial justification for murder. The two men were eventually acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter (although their ‘gay panic’ defence was not accepted).

There have been a number of other cases in Queensland where non-violent homosexual advance has been put forward as a partial defence to murder.

Father Kelly (pictured below) was so outraged that the ‘gay panic’ law still existed in Queensland that he started a Change.org petition calling for it to be dropped – and now more than 22,000 people have signed it, including British wit Stephen Fry.

“I’m utterly appalled that a law that so revoltingly and openly discriminates against gay people is still tolerated in a modern society,” said Father Kelly, at the St Mary’s parish in Maryborough.

“Laws like the ‘gay panic’ defence are a crucial part of legitimising and reinforcing a culture of hate which means that 73% of gay and lesbian Queenslanders are subjected to verbal abuse or physical violence for their sexuality.”

Catch Father Paul Kelly’s first TV interview about his campaign tonight (Tuesday 24 Jan) on The Project, airing 6pm on Ten.

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Priest fights for end to ‘gay panic’ defence

ABC News Online | January 11, 2012 | View Article | AUDIO: Gay panic defence under renewed focus (PM)

A Catholic priest is part of a campaign fighting for Queensland to abolish what is called the “gay panic” defence.

Father Paul Kelly, from Maryborough, wants the Queensland Government to do away with the legal loophole that allows an alleged homosexual advance to be used as a partial murder defence.

Queensland, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory all retain the so-called law of provocation.

Father Kelly was inspired to start the petition after a man was bashed to death next to his church in Gympie in 2008.

Wayne Ruks was killed by two men who later said Mr Ruks had made an unwanted sexual advance.

“He had been beaten to death,” Father Kelly told PM.

“We had the security footage that showed that this beating had happened within the grounds of the church, right next to the side door in the car park.

“The reason given for the bashing was that the man had allegedly made a homosexual advance to one of the assailants and that they lost all sense of proportion and beat him.

“He later died of his injuries and had been left lying there all night.”

Father Kelly says a court heard the incident happened after Mr Ruks allegedly grabbed one of the men’s crotch.

The two men accused of Mr Ruks’ murder were convicted of manslaughter, and thus escaped Queensland’s mandatory life sentence for murder.

Since then there has been some tightening of Queensland’s law regarding provocation.

Queensland is also in the process of reviewing the ability to raise the issue of a non-violent sexual advance.

But gay groups and Father Kelly want provocation laws abolished altogether.

“The law as it stands today in Queensland really plays into the hands of angry, violent people,” Father Kelly said.

He says his petition has so far gained 7,000 signatures.

“I’m very confident that it will lead to change because it’s a commonsense justice corrective, and I’m hoping that we won’t ever hear in future that defence being used,” he said.

The Government says it is responding to community concerns about the defence.

Attorney-General Paul Lucas says the case referred to by Father Kelly occurred under the old laws and there are no known cases where new laws had been tested.

The committee reviewing the issue is scheduled to report back to the Government by the end of the month.

 

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Stephen Fry promotes Father Paul Kelly’s online petition to end Queensland’s ‘gay panic’ defence for murder

Courier Mail | January 11, 2012 | View Article

BRITISH comedian Stephen Fry has lent his support via Twitter to moves to end Queensland’s “gay panic” legal loophole which considers homosexual advances sufficient aggravation for murder.

Queensland priest Father Paul Kelly started an online petition against the law, which Fry today promoted to his 3.7 million Twitter followers.

Fry’s support came as the petition passed the 10,000 signature mark.

Father Kelly said he was delighted with the response to the Change.org petition but is doubtful that the Labor Government will act, given they have had plenty of opportunity to do so while in power.

“The Bligh Government really just seems to be tinkering at the edges of reform,” said Father Kelly.

“Given that, there is an opportunity for Opposition Leader Campbell Newman to seize the initiative and to take a positive step towards reducing discrimination and violence towards gay and lesbian people in Queensland,” said Father Kelly.Richard John Meerdink, 41, and Jason Andrew Pearce, 38, were jailed for the manslaughter of Wayne Robert Ruks, 45, in the grounds of Maryborough’s St Mary’s Catholic Church in July 2008.

The court did not accept their defence that Mr Ruks had followed them to the church and tried to grab Pearce’s crotch before he was punched and kicked to death.

Under current Queensland laws, unwanted homosexual or heterosexual advances can be used as a partial provocation defence to violent crimes.

“I’m utterly appalled that a law that so revoltingly and openly discriminates against gay people is still tolerated in a modern society,” Father Kelly said.

“Queensland is now one of the last states upholding the idea that a person can be panicked enough by homosexual people to justify grievously bashing them to the point that they die.”

Attorney-General Paul Lucas said the Queensland Law Reform Commission had in 2009 recommended that judges decide in individual cases whether or not a sexual advance amounted to provocation.

Mr Lucas said that in line with the QLRC recommendations, the state government had also changed the criminal code so that words by themselves could not be used in establishing the defence.

He said a committee had been established to consider “non-violent sexual advances in the context of establishing provocation”, and would report back to the government by the end of this month.

The committee had been set up before the petition was started, he said.

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Priest fights against ‘gay panic’ defence

NineMSN News | Jan 10, 2012 | View Article

A Catholic priest whose church was the scene of a violent crime is calling on the Queensland government to get rid of the so-called “homosexual panic” defence to murder.

Richard John Meerdink, 41, and Jason Andrew Pearce, 38, were jailed for the manslaughter of Wayne Robert Ruks, 45, in the grounds of Maryborough’s St Mary’s Catholic Church in July 2008.

The court did not accept their defence that Mr Ruks had followed them to the church and tried to grab Pearce’s crotch before he was punched and kicked to death.

Under current Queensland laws, unwanted homosexual or heterosexual advances can be used as a partial provocation defence to violent crimes.

Maryborough priest Paul Kelly has set up an online petition, which has so far garnered 7000 signatures, calling for the defence to be completely struck out.

“I’m utterly appalled that a law that so revoltingly and openly discriminates against gay people is still tolerated in a modern society,” Father Kelly said.

“Queensland is now one of the last states upholding the idea that a person can be panicked enough by homosexual people to justify grievously bashing them to the point that they die.”

Attorney-General Paul Lucas said the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC) had in 2009 recommended that judges decide in individual cases whether or not a sexual advance amounted to provocation.

Mr Lucas said that in line with the QLRC recommendations, the state government had also changed the criminal code so that words by themselves could not be used in establishing the defence.

He said a committee had been established to consider “non-violent sexual advances in the context of establishing provocation”, and would report back to the government by the end of this month.

The committee had been set up before the petition was started, he said.

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Murder alibi was a ‘lie’

Fraser Coast Chronicle – October 12, 2009

THE mother of the man beaten to death in a Maryborough churchyard last year has labeled his attacker’s recent successful defence as a “pack of lies”.

A Maryborough Supreme Court jury found Jason Andrew Pearce and Richard John Meerdink not guilty of the murder of her 45-year-old son Wayne Ruks.

The defence had claimed in the trial that Ruks had made homosexual advances to one of the men thereby inciting the vicious attack.They claimed the attacker had been the victim of sexual abuse as a child and therefore the advance had caused an enraged response.

But Joyce Kujala (pictured) dismissed the suggestion that her son was gay as totally untrue.

“My son was no homosexual,” Joyce Kujala said.

“He was no way inclined that way at all. He had a girlfriend. He was not a homosexual.

“He had a drinking problem. He drank a lot because he was a loner.”

Speaking from her Caboolture home just hours after hearing the jury’s verdict Ms Kujala said she was disappointed with the verdict even though the jury found both men guilty of manslaughter.

She was informed by telephone after she had left the Maryborough courthouse early on Friday; in the belief a verdict was unlikely until today.

Ms Kujala had sat through two weeks of evidenceincluding an allegation that Wayne Ruks had made a sexual advance toward Pearce.

“He’s not here to defend himself. To have that stigma on his character would have been very upsetting for him.

“I can only think he wanted to have a chat with them out of curiosity.

“He sensed danger but wasn’t quick enough to get away. It was very upsetting.”

Ms Kujala said that on her way home she had stopped in Bauple at the block of land where her son planned to build a house.

“It’s the way he died and the way his dream crumbled. All he wanted was to put a home on his land.”

In a letter to her son, Ms Kujala revealed, she told Wayne to expect a visit from her about July 20 last year to throw her eye across the site of his prospective new home.

He died on July 3.

“He was a very soft kind of guy. I used to say to him ‘Wayne, you’re too soft for this world’.

“He was very kind, thoughtful and considerate. He was very good to his mother.

“He has left a big void in my life. He was my only son. I’m devastated he’s not around anymore.”

Meerdink and Pearce will remain in the Maryborough Correctional Centre until they are dealt with for manslaughter.

A pre-sentence report, including psychological and psychiatric tests, is expected to take six weeks.

The matter will then be mentioned in a Brisbane court before Justice Peter Applegarth and set down for a sentence date.

Read more about the trial…

Guilty of manslaughter
Jury to retire in church murder trial
Judgment day
Jury back to churchyard tape
Jury sees tape of churchyard fight again
Alleged killers’ fate known soon
DNA puts accused at murder scene
Trial starts for churchyard murder

Read more about the murder at St Mary’s Catholic Church.

View Article

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Homosexual murder defence ‘a pack of lies’

Brisbane Times – October 12, 2009

The mother of the man beaten to death in a Maryborough churchyard last year has labelled his attacker’s recent successful defence as a “pack of lies”.

A Maryborough Supreme Court jury found Jason Andrew Pearce and Richard John Meerdink not guilty of the murder of her 45-year-old son Wayne Ruks.

The defence had claimed in the trial that Ruks had made homosexual advances to one of the men thereby inciting the vicious attack. They claimed the attacker had been the victim of sexual abuse as a child and therefore the advance had caused an enraged response.

But Joyce Kujala dismissed the suggestion that her son was gay as totally untrue.

“My son was no homosexual,” Ms Kujala said. “He was no way inclined that way at all. He had a girlfriend.”

Read the full story at The Fraser Coast Chronicle.

View Article

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Guilty of manslaughter

Fraser Coast Chronicle – October 10, 2009

TWO MARYBOROUGH men are expected to plead guilty later this year to the manslaughter of Wayne Ruks, after they were yesterday found not guilty of murder.Two Maryborough men are expected to plead guilty later this year to the manslaughter of 45-year-old Wayne Ruks, after they were yesterday evening found not guilty of murder.

Jason Andrew Pearce, 38, and Richard John Meerdink, 40, were accused of bashing Mr Ruks to death in St Mary’s Catholic Church grounds on July 3 last year.

Yesterday it took a jury seven hours to reach a not guilty verdict on murder and a guilty verdict on manslaughter. Read more

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Mum’s grief at death of bashed son

Courier Mail – October 9, 2009

“My son didn’t deserve to die,” says Joyce Ruks, who still can’t fathom the bizarre series of event which left her middle-aged schizophrenic son dead in a Maryborough churchyard.

Wayne Robert Ruks, 45, had been hit, kicked and possibly spat at before the former building industry worker died, wedged between a garden bed and a bench in the grounds of St Mary’s Catholic church.

Blows, including at least one to the testicles, had been delivered by a man wearing steelcap boots. Read more

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Judgement day

Fraser Coast Chronicle – October 8, 2009
WAYNE Ruks's death in the St Mary's Catholic Church grounds last year was the result of nothing more than an
WAYNE Ruks’s death in the St Mary’s Catholic Church grounds last year was the result of nothing more than an “unfortunate drunken escapade”.

That’s the opinion of defence counsel Greg McGuire, who Wednesday presented his closing address to a murder trial jury in the Maryborough Supreme Court.

Jason Andrew Pearce, 38, and Richard John Meerdink, 40, have pleaded not guilty to murdering 45-year-old Mr Ruks on the night of July 3, 2008.

The jury was expected to start deliberating on the men’s fate Thursday.

In his closing address yesterday Mr McGuire – Pearce’s defence counsel – said the altercation between three men in the churchgrounds was an “unfortunate drunken escapade” and Mr Ruks’ death was an “extraordinarily unforseen circumstance”. He slammed some of Crown Prosecutor Greg Cummings’ observations about the CCTV footage of the churchyard altercation as “outrageous accusations” and “disingenuous nonsense”.

“ … (Mr Ruks) bled to death because of how intoxicated he was and his general state of health,” he said.

During the trial the court has heard that the altercation occurred after an intoxicated Mr Ruks made a sexual advance on Pearce.

In an interview played to the court Pearce said Mr Ruks grabbed his crotch.

This alleged contact – which cannot be seen in the CCTV footage – was apparently exacerbated by the fact that Pearce said he was “f***ed with as a kid”. Read more

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Alleged killer may have been provoked, court told

October 8, 2009

A MAN alleged to have killed a disabled pensioner who made a homosexual pass at him could be acquitted of murder because of anger resulting from childhood sexual abuse, a jury was told yesterday.

The Supreme Court jury was told it could carefully weight the issue of provocation when deciding if Jason Andrew Pearce murdered Wayne Robert Ruks, who was found dead in a Maryborough Church yard. Read more

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Jury retires in churchyard murder case

WIN TV News – October 7, 2009

The fate of two men accused of Maryborough’s churchyard murder will be revealed in the next few days, with the jury to decide their fate.

In court today, counsel and prosecution walked jurors through the evidence for the last time.

In a closing statement, the prosecution told jurors both of the accused men proved by their violent actions they’re guilty of murder.

They claim security vision shows forty year old Richard John Meerdink and Jason Andrew Pearce thirty-eight, working together to attack Wayne Ruks.

Security vision of the fifteen minute altercation involving three men inside the churchyard was given to the jury by the prosecution to review when they convene.

The Prosecutor told the jury Mr Pearce admitted to punching the deceased in the head hard because he was really fired up.

But counsel for both men hit back, claiming the vision was unclear, and impossible to see who hit whom and where.

The defence told the jury Mr Ruks was an alcoholic, in bad health and extremely intoxicated…labelling the incident as an unfortunate drunken escapade.

Counsel urged the jury to look closely at the video evidence, and claims it’s obvious Mr Ruks upset the men.

The accused men have pleaded not guilty in the Maryborough Supreme court to the murder of forty-five year old Wayne Ruks last july.

The jury is now considering their verdict. Read more

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Jason Andrew Pearce accused of murdering Wayne Robert Ruks

Courier Mail – October 7, 2009

A man accused of murdering a disability pensioner who allegedly made homosexual advances towards him may have spat on his alleged victim during the attack, a court heard.

Jason Andrew Pearce yelled “I’m sick of you c–ts, you’ve f–ked up my life up” before beating Wayne Robert Ruks, who was later found dead in the grounds of Maryborough’s St Mary’s Catholic Church.

Barrister Greg McGuire, for Pearce, who admits manslaughter but not murder following the July 2008 attack, said his client was sexually interfered with as a child. Read more

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Gay advance led to murder of Wayne Ruks, court told

Courier Mail – September 29, 200

Wayne Ruk

UNWANTED homosexual advances allegedly prompted two men to attack a drinking mate and leave him to bleed to death in a Maryborough church yard, a court heard.

Richard John Meerdink, 40, and Jason Andrew Pearce, 37, are jointly charged with murdering Wayne Robert Ruks, 45, in the grounds of Maryborough’s St Mary’s Catholic Church in July last year.

Both entered pleas of not guilty to the murder on the opening day of their trial in the Maryborough Supreme Court sittings yesterday.

But Pearce told the court he would plead guilty to a charge of manslaughter.

In his opening address to the jury, Crown Prosecutor Greg Cummings said security camera footage of the entire 15-minute altercation involving the three men would show “compelling and damning evidence” of a sustained assault by Pearce and Meerdink on Ruks, which resulted in him dying from internal bleeding.

Mr Cummings said Ruks had died from one of four things – a kick delivered by Meerdink, a blow or blows delivered by one or both of the accused men or injuries received from falling hard to the ground after a tackle or from having tripped.

He said the video footage showed all the apparently intoxicated men arriving in the church yard about 9pm to drink cask wine, before an argument developed and Ruks was allegedly fatally assaulted.

The footage later showed Pearce and Meerdink leaving the scene “arm in arm”.

Ruks was left lying on the ground where a churchgoer discovered his body early the next morning.

Mr Cummings said Meerdink had told police he was “trying to help my mate (Pearce)”.

Pearce had told police he had reacted to Ruks after the victim had made homosexual advances towards him.

More than 40 witnesses are expected to give evidence in the trial which will run into next week.

Ruks, who had only moved to Maryborough from his Bauple property just two weeks before his death, was on a disability pension. View article

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