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Exoneration of persons convicted of gross indecency and related “homosexual offences”

Volume 621: debated on Friday 24 February 2017

The petition of citizens of the UK,

Declares that there are many people who were convicted of gross indecency and related "homosexual offences" prior to the Sexual Offences Act 2003; further that these offences were decriminalised by that Act and would not now be an offence; and further that any person (alive or deceased) convicted of any such offence should be exonerated.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to exonerate automatically any persons alive or deceased who were convicted of gross indecency and related “homosexual offences” prior to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in cases where their offences were decriminalised by that Act.

And the petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Diana Johnson, Official Report, 15 December 2016; Vol. 618, c. 1062.]

[P001998]

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Dr Phillip Lee):

The Government believe it is hugely important that people convicted of historical sexual offences who would be innocent of any crime today are pardoned.

Through provisions of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, which became law on 31 January, we met our manifesto commitment to build on the pardon granted to Alan Turing by HM the Queen (in December 2013) by implementing a pardon for deceased men convicted of historical sexual offences who would be innocent of any crime today.

Also under this legislation, everyone living who has obtained or obtains a disregard for a historical sexual offence, under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (meaning they are treated as if they had never committed the offence), will also be pardoned.

The Government are satisfied that this new legislation is the best way of righting these historical wrongs.