Wayne Ruks was violently killed in a Maryborough churchyard in 2008.
Wayne Ruks was violently killed in a Maryborough churchyard in 2008. Contributed

Heartbroken mum says it's time to abolish gay panic defence

AS THE last sitting week of parliament begins for the State Government, a heartbroken mother is hoping justice will be done.

Sunshine Coast resident Joyce Kujala said she wanted Queensland's gay panic provocation defence to be abolished once and for all.

Her son Wayne Ruks died in a Maryborough churchyard in 2008 at the hands of two men who later claimed the attack had been provoked after he made a homosexual advance.

The two men were found guilty of manslaughter rather than murder.

The fight to change the legislation has been led by Paul Kelly, who was the priest at St Mary's Catholic Church during the time of the killing.

Fr Kelly has repeatedly told of his horror after the attack was carried out on the grounds of his church and his determination to ensure people will not be able to use the defence to achieve a lesser sentence.

Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said changing the legislation to abolish the gay panic defence was not on the State Government's list of items to be discussed during the last sitting week of parliament for the year, but it was still an important part of their long-term agenda.

"The sitting week is pretty packed," he said.

"It will go ahead next year at this point."

Mr Saunders said he would fully support the legislation change when it came before the parliament.

Fr Kelly said he would be contacting Deputy Premier Jackie Trad to push the State Government to place the abolition of the gay panic defence higher on its agenda.

"It's inexcusable for this gay panic defence to still be legal - it sends the message that gay people are not safe or respected," he said.

Ms Kujala said she felt justice had not been done for her beloved son and she was currently fighting to prevent one of his attackers, Richard Meerdink, from being released on parole.

His other attacker, Jason Pearce, walked free after serving only four years of his nine-year sentence.

"I think they need very much to close that loophole," Ms Kujala said.

"The gay panic law should definitely be abolished."

Ms Kujala hoped her son would be proud that she was still fighting for him.
 



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