This case really hits home how little value is given to male victims of women’s violence, and indeed how little value is placed on men’s lives. It also highlights the sexist double standard in our justice system, in this case allowing a de facto partial defence of provocation in the case of a female murderer even though this defence was abolished for men several years ago.
The judge’s summing up instructed the jury that they “must use their knowledge of human nature to deliberate their verdict” and that “the jury must consider what Ms Scollay’s state of mind was like the night she stabbed her husband.” (Radio NZ news broadcast 13/02/2014).
No judge, the jury’s job was not to consider the impact of Ms Scollay’s ‘state of mind’ that night, only whether she deliberately committed her actions intending to kill. Going to the kitchen to fetch a large knife, bringing that to the victim’s bedroom, straddling the victim who is lying on the bed, rising up with her body over the victim and plunging that knife deep into his chest surely could never be anything other than murder. If her state of mind meant she could not be held fully responsible for the murder then this should have been assessed and established through psychiatric evidence, not by the jury. If the jury believed the murderer acted under ‘slow burn’ provocation then sorry, that should not have affected the verdict and the judge should have warned the jury to that effect. Instead, the judge’s instructions were clearly aimed at encouraging the jury to let this murderer off with the lesser charge.
This woman’s provocation defence was a variation of the fallacious ‘battered woman’s syndrome’ defence, in this case a ‘dissatisfied woman’s syndrome’. Her partner was unsatisfactory to her and was now inconvenient to her renewed affair with another man, so she killed him.
The judge’s transparent instructions may well provide a ground for an easy appeal by the Crown of this pussy pass verdict. However, appeals by the Crown it seems are reserved for males seen to have received lenience, never females.
So all that’s left is to await sentencing and to see how much of a pussy pass is awarded then too. In the meantime, read the following newspaper stories (1, 2) about the case and marvel at the constant sympathetic understanding shown towards the murderer, the excuses and minimization in describing this case. Consider how differently the stories would be written, and how different the outcome of the trial, if the genders had been reversed in this case.
This case sends a clear message to women throughout New Zealand: It’s ok to kill a man if he displeases you.
Stabbing victim’s son relieved with manslaughter verdict
Jessica McCarthy, Newstalk ZBFebruary 13, 2014, 4:48 pm
The son of Lucille and Guy Scollay says he’s relieved with today’s verdict.
A jury at the High Court in Christchurch has found Lucille Scollay not guilty of her husband’s murder but guilty of his manslaughter after she stabbed him in the chest while he lay in bed in February last year.
The 45-year-old claimed she was using the knife to make statement to her husband about how desperate their lives had become.
The decision came after four hours of deliberations.
There were sighs of relief and tears from Lucille Scollay and members of her family who sat in the public gallery.
Her son Louie Scollay had this to say outside court: “I’m extremely happy with the result, that’s pretty much all I can say actually. Big relief.”
The family of Guy Scollay say they hold no animosity towards his wife.
The families released a statement following the verdict.
Lucille Scollay’s family say they are deeply saddened a son is lost; a wife has lost her husband and a son will now have to be without both a father and a mother.
Scollay has been remanded in custody until March 13.