Mercy law frees woman who murdered abuser

Mercy law frees woman who murdered abuser

AN Aboriginal woman serving a life sentence for murdering her abusive partner will be released from prison after the West Australian government used “mercy” laws to grant her freedom.

Jody Carolyn Gore was drunk when she fatally stabbed 39-year-old Damion Jones at a home in the Nulleywah Aboriginal community in Kununurra in June 2015.

Gore, who claimed she acted in self-defence, is serving life in prison with a minimum of 12 years.

Attorney-General John Quigley. Picture: Nadia Budihardjo

Attorney-General John Quigley told parliament on Thursday that the government had recommended Governor Kim Beazley exercise the “royal prerogative of mercy” to remit the remainder of Ms Gore’s sentence without pardoning her.

“Ms Gore has taken a life. She has served more than four years in prison,” Mr Quigley said in a brief ministerial statement.

“I extend my condolences to the family of her victim, who was also her perpetrator.

“The government has decided that now is the time for mercy.”

Mr Quigley said the decision was made after considering Ms Gore’s medical conditions, the fact that as an Indigenous woman she is away from her country, the extent that the substantial history of domestic violence contributed to her actions and her previous good character.

The case has also prompted the state government to seek changes to the law to “reflect the complexities of family and domestic violence” after conceding an amendment in 2008 may not have had its intended effect regarding self-defence.

“(We) will introduce legislative reforms to provide for jury directions and expert evidence to address stereotypes, myths and misconceptions about family and domestic violence,” he said.

“The exercise of the royal prerogative in this matter is not, and cannot, be considered as a precedent in any other case.”