Belfast Telegraph

Two Northern Ireland men have appeal for gay sex crime pardons rejected

Homosexual acts were decriminalised in Northern Ireland almost 40 years ago.
Homosexual acts were decriminalised in Northern Ireland almost 40 years ago.

Two Northern Ireland men convicted of now abolished gay sex crimes have had appeals for their sentences to be quashed rejected.

In 2016 the Assembly adopted the so-called Turing Law which allows those convicted of gay offences to have their convictions disregarded as well as dropping a requirement for the offences to be disclosed.

Homosexual acts were decriminalised in Northern Ireland in 1982.

The BBC reported only two men in Northern Ireland applied to the Department of Justice to have their convictions disregarded. It is not known why the men had their applications rejected although it is understood the criteria is limited.

Under the legislation those convicted of offences such as buggery, gross indecency and procuring others to commit homosexual acts can apply. The activity must have been consensual, with a person aged 17 or over and must not be a current offence.

Anyone convicted of a past offence that has since passed away is automatically pardoned.

It is free to apply to the service.

It's estimated a "few hundred" people could be eligible to apply for offences dating back to the 1950s.

LGBT support group The Rainbow Project said it was disappointing more people did not apply to have their records wiped clean.

"It doesn't take away from the important message sent by the introduction of pardons," said spokesman John O'Doherty.

Famous World War Two code-breaker Alan Turing was convicted of gross indecency with a 19-year-old in 1952 and chemically castrated. He later took cyanide and died in 1954.

He was pardoned in 2013 following a private members bill in the Commons and new laws introduced to expunge the record of those previously convicted under the outdated laws.

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