Joyce Kujaja
Joyce Kujala says the justice system failed her son, Wayne Ruks, who was bashed and left to die on the steps of a Maryborough church. Picture: Jamie Hanson

A grieving Queensland mother has joined the fight to close the legal loophole that allowed her son’s killer to go free after serving just 4 years in prison.

Grieving Queensland mum Joyce Kujala has called on Premier Campbell Newman to immediately close the legal loophole that allowed her son’s killer to walk free from gaol after just four years.

Joyce’s son, Wayne Ruks, was brutally bashed to death in Maryborough in 2008 in a case that highlighted the notorious “gay panic” defence, in which a non-violent homosexual advance can be used as a partial defence to murder.

The killing prompted Father Paul Kelly to launch his explosive campaign to end the gay panic defence, which has gathered more than 180,000 signatures and international condemnation of Queensland law.

Joyce said today she was devastated that one of her son’s killers, Jason Andrew Pearce, was freed from jail this month after serving just four years.

“This is a terrible loophole in the law that anyone can use to literally get away with murder,” said Joyce in a statement posted on

“Pearce took my son’s life and gave me a life sentence – he got four years and now he’s free. My son was not gay. It just shows that anyone with a smart lawyer can use the defence against anyone.There is no condoning an attack on anyone, regardless of their race or religion or the way they live.

“This law is a loophole that simply encourages more crime. It’s time for Campbell Newman to close it.”

Joyce said she was grateful for Father Paul’s campaign and the support it had received.

Father Paul said today that Premier Newman needed to realise the campaign was not going to go away and that it was time for him to declare whether he supports the “gay panic” defence. “Campbell Newman says he is tough on crime. Now I’d like to see him show that he is by finally removing the “gay panic” defence”

“This is not just a gay rights issue, it is a criminal justice and human rights issue,” said Father Paul. “There is overwhelming support for the removal of the gay panic defence and it is time Campbell Newman listened to what the community was saying.”