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Law to wipe gay sex convictions given royal assent

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  1. What took so long???

    1. Well its taken a year to pass the legislation which is how long stuff normally takes unless the House of Lords is being difficult. The question is when that law was repealed in 2003 why did Labour not introduce this?

      1. New Aussie 1 May 2012, 10:45pm

        Well labour would have done so in due course. Remember that labour repealed or amended hundreds of antigay laws in the 2003 bill on the advice of Stonewall, who actually helped draft that part of the bill. To the best of my knowledge, the calls for wiping away former convictions only became a political issue in 2009 when the petition was raised to have Alan Turing posthumously pardoned. I should note that this is actually a parliamentary first for amendments to criminal law. I don’t actually think there has ever been a bill to wipe convictions for repealed criminal laws before.

    2. I hope Pink News do a full account of how to apply etc.

      Lee

  2. …and does this include cottaging?
    If not, why not?

    1. Yes it does. The offence was BEING MAN, LOITERING FOR AN IMMORAL PURPOSE.

    2. Having sex in a public place is illegal regardless of sexual orientation.

      1. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 8:22pm

        @David…
        …the offense wasn’t “having sex in a public place” It was “loitering with the intent of importuning a sexual act” regardless of where you intended doing the deed.

        Boys on the Dilly were often picked up under this particular part fo the sexual offenses act.

      2. David

        There is no specific offence of having sex in a public place.

        The Sexual Offences Act (2003) doesn’t legislate specifically against sex in public places, but that doesn’t make it legal.

        Public order offences exist to guard against outraging taste and decency. There are distinctions in law about where you can get it on. Sex in private dwellings (such as your house) is fine, although if you deliberately do so with the curtains open with the intention of offending others you could be prosecuted.

        Public settings (like shagging in the foyer of a theatre), funnily enough, aren’t legal. “In public” means the conduct must happen in a place where there is a high possibility of at least two members of public possibly seeing it.

        But sex in isolated places is technically OK, so long as you have a reasonable expectation of privacy – and, of course, you don’t get spotted. Police will usually only act on a complaint from a third-party or witness. So, if you’re not rumbled …

  3. …and does this include the dreadful offence of cottaging, thus outraging public decency and frightening the horses?
    If not, theh why not!

    1. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 7:52pm

      Read the story.. Loitering with Intent IS inckluded, Cottaging is Loitering with Intent or was and is now repealed and all convictions quashed…..

      1. There is probably other gender neutral modern day offences which are equivalent to it though.

        1. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 8:29pm

          Yes Prostitution would come under a similar modern day act but are unaffected by this bill. All this bill does is quash any conviction which took place under a previous law now repealed.
          For example having consensual sex with a person over 16 but under the age of consent for gay sex which was 21 until the law was changed. The age change law was not retrospective hence the need for this bill…..

  4. WantsToKnow 1 May 2012, 5:40pm

    Ok, I’m from the US, so excuse my ignorance. What is “cottaging”?

    1. Sex in a public rest-room

    2. having sex in a public bathroom.

    3. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 7:54pm

      Having sex or importuning a sexual liason in a public place or toilet.

    4. Cottaging in the USA is know as ‘Tea room trade’. In fact there is a book with the same title by Laud Humphries.

      1. GingerlyColors 2 May 2012, 7:01am

        Anything to do with the Tea Party Movement by any chance?

    5. Spanner1960 1 May 2012, 10:12pm

      “Cottages” are what you guys call “Tea Rooms”.

  5. Does this also mean the ‘Importuning for an immoral purpose’ offence/convictuion is covered as well ?

    1. Depending on each event it could be.

      Some rare cases (where orientation was not a factor) may still be offences and thus not eligible.

      1. Paddyswurds 2 May 2012, 7:54pm

        @Stu…
        ….Well yes but aren’t you being a tad pedantic.. One could say that asking someone to help you rob an old lady of her pension on the High street on a Thursday morning could be construed as “Importuning for an immoral purpose’” but hardly relevant in the context of this bill…..lol

        1. Paddywurds

          Arguably pedantic (why change the habit of a lifetime ;-))

          In the spirit of this bill all related importuning offences would be likely to be expunged.

          Those that did not relate to orientation would not.

  6. What about ‘Importuning for an Immoral Purpose’. Is this covered? If so how do I apply to have the offence removed and do I get any compensation for wrongful arrest and conviction?

    1. I doubt there will be any compensation for wrongful arrest/conviction just a removal of criminal record unless the conviction caused some kind of harm like chemical castration for example.

    2. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 8:01pm

      Not unless the conviction was since the laws were repealed, which is unlikely. You will not receive compensation as the law was “lawful” right up until it was repealed and received Royal Consent. It tell you in the write up what you have to do to get convictions erased…. Read the bl**dy story people.

      1. I know this may sound silly for those of s that received a fine will ths be reimbursed ?

        1. Spanner1960 1 May 2012, 10:12pm

          What do you want? Blood?

          1. no just my money back after all straights weren’t fine in very many cases charged never mind fined – gay people were set up or police spent hours in bogs waiting to catch gay men. Lets not forget the like of James Anderton (Police Chief Manchester 1976) who according to The Guardian, Anderton “encouraged his officers to stalk its dank alleys and expose anyone caught in a clinch, while police motorboats with spotlights cruised for gay men around the canal’s locks and bridges”.[1] Anderton responded to criticism by stating that he was merely enforcing the law regarding sexual activity in public toilets and that there had been a significant number of complaints from local people regarding police inaction.

          2. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 11:33pm

            There used to be a great cottage near the bottom end of Canal street. Is it still “in use”? lol

  7. Sorry confused – will there still be a record of the ‘crime’ against a named person as set out here:

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/02/11/gay-sex-criminal-records-will-not-be-deleted-campaigners-say/

    Lee

    1. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 8:03pm

      Again read the story. You have to apply to get criminal records of this type deleted from your record. They WILL be deleted on request and there is NO question of refusal.

      1. paddy I wve read a number of site and the conviction is still listed but not disclosed if your exams you were stopped in the street or for car checks as I understand it bu remain in the system

        How ad where do people like me apply

        1. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 8:39pm

          I would imagine you would have to apply to the Home Office or Attorney Generals office. I assume Pink News will publish the relevant info asap…. Here in the north of Ireland one would apply to the Justice Ministry I don’t know what the equivalent would be in Britain.

          1. Thanks for your input and knowledge – I was caught in a cottage with another bloke in the cubicle and was done I think for gross indecency I hopping I will be eligable to apply?

            Lee

          2. It would probably be the Ministry of Justice in England ….

  8. Gemma Gillon 1 May 2012, 6:20pm

    HM Protection Of Freedoms Act 2012 is a step in the right direction for once. This will mean many ‘crimes’ that can be aruged to ammount the actions now lawfully allowed by this bill can also be challnged clearing up ambiguities. A lot of intresting common law cases to come I predict.

    1. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 8:05pm

      @Gemma could you try that again. what you wrote made NO sense…..

      1. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 8:09pm

        …oh and btw, there are no ambiguities. The onlty possible question can be as to whether there was consent or if an adult had some influence over a person under 18…. eg teacher coach priest.

  9. This is great news. It is about time!

  10. Interesting that this Act will be applied retrospectively. In the Republic of Ireland, no law can be retrospective.

    1. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 8:12pm

      This bill is to make the law retrospective which the change to 16 didn’t do. The ROI would have to pass a law similar to this as the change to 17 here also wasn’t retrospective.

  11. Staircase2 1 May 2012, 7:33pm

    And about bloody time too!

    Its outrageous that the Government has taken so long (and to be honest – people shouldn’t have to ‘apply’ “to disregard convictions” – they should make it automatic…

    1. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 8:17pm

      That would require a massive amount of work for over 100,000 convictions and how would you pick out the relevant cases from the millions on the books, hence the need to approach the relevant authorities to have it done which would then be a simple matter of looking up your name and conviction and deleting them from the record. It is possible you would need to have the records in police possession deleted as well.

      1. Its called a conviction and exists on the Police National Database.

        A keystroke would eliminate it from records.

        1. Paddyswurds 1 May 2012, 11:37pm

          How do you propose finding these convictions without trawling every case on the database? I would have thought it would be an impossible task without foreknowledge of names and dates. The argument is moot as it has already been decided that one must apply to the relevant authorities…..

          1. Staircase2 2 May 2012, 7:38pm

            you don’t think its possible to search by category then? That’s fairly basic stuff on any database – I don’t see why the Police Records should be any exception…
            Long winded: yes – but I think it should be done automatically…

            If those same Police Records are used as part of a CRB check then I don’t see why they can’t employ someone to sort out the database…

            Equally they could just ignore them on any CRB check – it should be obvious from the records which offences are and which aren’t now legally invalid…

  12. Lumi Bast 1 May 2012, 7:51pm

    This is good! It’s sad homosexual sex was ever a crime back then. This is a step in the right direction!

    There’s nothing immoral about homosexual sex either.

  13. ‘Loitering with intent’ was the ‘crime’ used against gay men caught cottaging. Now perhaps the police will switch their attention to the Houses of Parliament, where elderly men can often be seen ‘Loitering with NO intent.’

  14. radical53 2 May 2012, 3:57am

    I wonder if all of visitors/ stayers in the UK who were convicted in the past can have their records cleared as well.

    Be interesting to find out.

    1. In theory they should be able to ….

  15. GingerlyColors 2 May 2012, 7:12am

    The sad thing about this new law is that because it took so long for it to come in it is of little consequence for anybody who was in their late teens or early 20′s who were convicted prior to 1967. These people will be retired or in their latter part of their working lives by now and would have had their career choices blighted by a criminal record just because they are gay. Interestingly how many people were prosecuted in Scotland and Northern Ireland between 1967 and the early 1980′s when homosexuality was decriminalised in those parts of the UK and how they will be affected by the new law.

  16. I welcome this great news!
    I have been refused jobs
    Because of a gross Indecency act
    When and how do you get this removed
    From a CRB

    1. Staircase2 2 May 2012, 7:44pm

      Perhaps Pink News could report on how people go about doing this? If in doubt contact Stonewall – or check out their website for further info – they were a leading light in providing evidence according to what I just read in Hansard.

  17. Gay activist Paul Mitchell 2 May 2012, 12:50pm

    Long overdue indeed!

    Gay sex is good for all us gay men!

    UK retrospective legislation in very interesting indeed!

    Let’s have a drink and celebrate!

  18. Terry Stewart 2 May 2012, 7:19pm

    All changes in the law which decriminalise our community are welcome, but we must remember that hundreds and thousands of Gay men convicted of Importuning still remain criminalised. These are people whose only crime was to be in a public place when Police were out to both abuse their power and up the crime resolution figures. What about thes folk I ask?

  19. Why are they still in records?

    1. Croydon Gut 2 May 2012, 8:42pm

      I am really confused over this.
      We have been able to apply to have ‘gay only’ offences negated, in effect for several years.

      The website of Croydon’s LGBT police consultation group has been advertising it since I was webmaster.
      See http://www.lgbtcroydon.org.uk/aurora/removalofoffen.htm

      It begins:
      Removal Of Offences

      As a result of the reforms in the new Sexual Offences Act, a procedure was introduced so that men who had been convicted only of consenting sex between men could apply to be removed from the ‘sex offender’s register’.

      The procedure was designed to remove people who were not child sex offenders. To understand the details properly you need to read the Home Office’s documents below:

      Home Office Guidance to Applicants (pdf file)
      Schedule 4 Application Form (pdf file)

      etc.

      Aurora advertised it (as did the Home Office) because it was such and important reform.

      So what exactly has changed?
      Can anyone explain?

      1. The Sex Offenders Register is separate from the official record of criminal records. This process in the bill given royal assent is to expunge all consensual gay sex acts from the criminal records system that individuals seek to have removed. They could already be removed from the sex offenders register, but still technically have a criminal record. That criminal record will now be regarded as clear (if there are no other entries!) if they apply for removal.

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