Grace Millane's family respond to the 'rough sex' defence being banned
The family of Grace Millane, the British backpacker who was murdered by a man she was supposed to meet with in Auckland, New Zealand in December 2018, has responded to news that "gross sex defense" should be banned.
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Defense can currently be used by a defendant to justify a woman's death during sex. If this is accepted by the court, this can lead to a minimized indictment (and thus a conviction) of the perpetrators. Defense has been used to defend perpetrators who have been tried in the United Kingdom for murder more than 60 times since 1972, according to the campaign group "We cannot agree". In 45% of these cases, this resulted in a "lower charge of manslaughter, an easier sentence, or death that is not at all investigated as a crime".
Defense came into play in Grace Millane's murder trial (though not before a British court) when the undisclosed man who killed her insisted that Grace accidentally die because she had choked on consensual sex.
His lawyers presented evidence to the court that the young woman had previously experimented with asphyxiation during sex. While the jury finally found him guilty of murder - without accepting his attempt to make the sex game go wrong - it was undoubtedly extremely worrying for Grace's family that their sex history had been manipulated to try to excuse it.
Credit: REX / Shutterstock - Rex
Grace's murderer is now serving at least 17 years in prison for his crime, although it is believed that he will appeal the conviction.
Earlier this week, Justice Minister Alex Chalk described the defense as "irresponsible" on the Commons' Public Bill Committee, which was debating the upcoming law against domestic abuse, and assured MPs that it would be banned as part of the new legislation.
"It is incomprehensible for the accused to claim that a woman's death is justified, excusable, or legally justifiable because that woman has engaged in violent and harmful sexual activity that has resulted in her death simply because she has consented," he said .
In response to the news, a charity founded by Grace Millane's family on her behalf - Love Grace x, who helps victims of domestic abuse by providing handbags with toiletries to shelters around the world - on Facebook: "Fantastic Wake Up News ".
Speaking to the BBC, Grace's cousin Hannah O'Callaghan said about the upcoming change in law: "Nothing will change for us, but hopefully it will keep any other family from going through this."
"Men cannot use this defense as an excuse to kill women, knowing that they can receive less punishment. Families don't have to hear just one side of the story while the victim becomes a victim again and this doesn't get a chance to say their side. "
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