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UK: Law on quashing consensual gay sex charges comes into force

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  1. So how do we go about applying this to Turing then?

    1. GingerlyColors 2 Oct 2012, 7:08am

      My sentiments exactly!

  2. This is a real step forward. Shame those who had sex with other males (aged 16 and over where both consented) in public places such as cottages are not able to apply. And in many cases those convicted are probably in a age group where its going to affect their employment or life at this stage. I would be interested to read on here from anyone if this change in the law is going to benefit them. I hope many of the 16000 do have some benefit.

    This is unfair in my view being a straight couple having sex in a public area and in many case one or the other was under 16 have very rarely been prosecuted.

    Lee

  3. It doesn’t apply to people who are dead but John leech, the lib dem mp for Manchester withington is hoping to get the law changed on that fairly soon. It could open flood gates for others – may be even Oscar Wilde?

  4. My guess is the reason they can’t overturn these convictions full stop (which is the least they should be doing) is to cut costs. By rights, there should be compensation for the people convicted under this stupid law too.

    1. Paddyswurds 1 Oct 2012, 4:47pm

      I would imagine that the reason those convictions cannot be overturned is because they were convicted under Public Decency laws and not Sexual Behavior Laws..I could be wrong tho?

  5. Samuel B. 1 Oct 2012, 1:49pm

    A rare victory for common sense!

  6. Good news.

    Now where is the specific timetable for legalisation of same sex civil marriage.

    If Cameron is not lying (and this is quite probable) about equal civil rights for LGBT people then there is no reason why we do not have a timetable yet.

    Is Cameron lying (yet again?)

  7. Christopher 1 Oct 2012, 2:44pm

    Why should one need to apply in the first place? Shouldn’t records exist of who was charged, and shouldn’t those who placed the charges do the scrubbing? Is there a fee to apply???

  8. Margrete Cowie 1 Oct 2012, 2:52pm

    So NOW does AlAn Turing get his justice?

  9. GulliverUK 1 Oct 2012, 4:51pm

    A friend of mine had a bind-over for consensual sex in a public toilet almost 20 years ago and I’m helping him fill in the form now. Unfortunately he can’t remember most of the details, although when he contacted ACPO some months back they wouldn’t give the details but did acknowledge there was something on his file – which comes back with “No live trace” rather than mine which comes back with “No trace”. So I hope they will be understanding when he says it was sometime between 1991 and 1994 ! He also hasn’t got a clue which court it was dealt with – but the details should be on their systems. If they turn around and say unless you know the exact date, the exact nature and law that was broken, what the court was, etc., then there will be a lot of very frustrated people – bearing in mind some of these convictions were in the 80s and 90s.

    1. Tim Hopkins 1 Oct 2012, 7:07pm

      Apologies if I’ve misunderstood, or if you think it’s none of my business, but isn’t consensual sex in a public toilet still a crime in England and Wales, under section 71 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003? Is it therefore in the list of things that you can have removed from the record?

      1. I think you’re right, Tim.
        When the government were told the cottaging provisions (which applied only to men) breached the principles of sexual equality, they simply amended the law so it applied to a person of either sex

        1. No cottaging offence cannot be removed.

          Lee

        2. There is a worrying development here. David Cameron had said that malicious convictions for loitering with intent would be covered in the new Freedoms Bill. Since, 1967, when that law was repealed, those prosecuted have been convicted for soliciting or persistently importuning by man for an immoral purpose gross indecency’. Soliciting was merely looking for a sexual partner, even if the intention was to go somewhere private. It is strange section 32 was not included in the new legislation. These cruising convictions in a public place and even in a lavatory relied on policemen as agents provocateurs before 2003. While I hope the people of retirement age helped by this new expunging of offences grants find relief, this now repealed offence for soliciting should also be included. It represents an unfair blight on many lives for a victimless crime pre-cyber age that many less men would choose today. We need to step up the campaign if this group too and soon.

          1. We need to step up the campaign for this group soon to assist their offences being expunged. There seems to be no way of acknowledging that the agents provocateurs were intrinsic to the context. The CRB needs to expose those who are of risk to children or vulnerable adults but, as yet, repealed gay offences like soliciting, which often only meant looking for someone, stop people from being able either to find work or to offer themselves for volunteering. We need to get this anomaly addressed, withdrawn from CRB and ACPO disclosures, so that people prosecuted in previously homophobic contexts where police would rarely be found today, can have the chance to live their lives without fear of exposure and the inevitable financial and psychological strain that such difficulties promote, especially these days when everyone is subject to increased scrutiny and in a tough financial climate.

      2. GulliverUK 2 Oct 2012, 9:51am

        Tim,
        if it doesn’t cover all the usual acts used to persecute (not prosecute but to persecute) gay men, including the use of agent provocateurs, then it’s simply a smoke-screen. If two men are in a locked cubicle with no way for the public to see, and thus be offended, by the activity, then no offence can be said to reasonably exist – this is from a case where the judge threw the prosecution case out of court. If an agent provocateur induces someone to commit an offence by going along with the activities of the agent provocateur then surely that would also be likely to result in circumstances where the agent provocateur was also guilty.

        The behaviour of the police in the 80s and 90s are appalling – they specifically targeted gay men in all sorts of areas, cheap easy target-improving arrests for non-crimes, and they did it on the direct instructions of the Tory government, although it wouldn’t surprise me if the Labour government itself had a less than sterling record.

        1. GulliverUK 2 Oct 2012, 10:00am

          His conviction resulted in a bind-over, so it’s clear in this case that the offence was so minor that people have received far more serious reprimands for speeding offences, and I myself was fined £50 for putting my refuse out 12 hours ahead of time. He wasn’t fined at all, and no court costs, so we all, as tax-payers, paid for a) this persecution and b) the court costs and c) the damage and losses to society as an individual lost their jobs or it impacted their career, or just their own personal well-being, perhaps for the rest of their lives.

          In his case, if his conviction isn’t wiped it means there was never any serious intent to rectify this egregious criminal judicial behaviour. And shame on the judges who went along with it, and the human rights lawyers to failed to challenge it. Shame on us all for leaving it this late.

          1. Equality Network 2 Oct 2012, 12:45pm

            I agree that the convictions for sex in a toilet were generally unfair and homophobic, but Stonewall’s advice page on this confirms that the “amnesty” does not cover convictions for sexual activity in a public toilet:

            http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_home/hate_crime_domestic_violence_and_criminal_law/8064.asp

  10. Pavlos Prince of Greece 2 Oct 2012, 4:24am

    117 years too late for Oscar Wilde. But nice, good, Britain. The German gay community wish similar rehabilitation of postwar offers of Prussian paragraph 175 too and is taking action in the Bundestag, also starting petition in the website (offers of 1933-1945 was rehabilitated in 2000). The anti-gay paragraph was abolished in Eastern Germany 1968. In Western Germany one year later, but just partially,- total abolition of it was still not happen just until 1994. So very ironic, that after unification, this four long years gay men from East, who more than two decades has live in absolutely free for gay sex territory, has became citizens of quasi old new state, where it was not everywhere. Even united Berlin was split regard homosexual activity in two ‘zones’ – one legal and one not.

  11. GulliverUK 2 Oct 2012, 11:11am

    Reading the notes provided by Stonewall
    http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_home/hate_crime_domestic_violence_and_criminal_law/8064.asp

    it says what is covered includes;
    – People convicted or cautioned for having consensual gay sex with someone over 16
    – People convicted or cautioned for gross indecency with another man
    – People convicted or cautioned for frequenting with intent (commonly known as loitering
    with intent)

    HOWEVER,
    “the following conditions have been met:
    – The other person(s) involved in the offence were 16 or over at the time of the offence
    – The offence does not involve sexual activity in a public lavatory (which is still illegal)”

    which means that someone targeted by the police in a public toilet, as they were, would still not be able to get their conviction removed, even though the courts themselves threw out many of those prosecutions if the public could not have seen the activity, i.e. it was in a cubicle with the door locked and no easy way to see in.

    1. This is the inconsistency. Homophobic policemen set up situations to catch cruisers in public places and people in public toilets in situations that would not occur frequently today because of the many other means of meeting people now available. ‘Soliciting’ convictions should have been included in the amnesty because they cast a blight over men’s lives for a victimless and engineered situation by the police. The campaign must go on to liberate people from these convictions. I am not advocating sexual activity in lavatories but circumstances have changed and most of them would not be there nowadays. The CRB needs to show those at risk to children and vulnerable adults but not shame people for victimless crimes such as this.

      1. I meant above that the majority of cottagers and cruisers have moved on to legal and more private ways of meeting people that were not previously available. Different times should reflect policies. Of course, sexual activity in public lavatories is undesirable but these men were often set up by pretty policemen whereas they would not visit such places by choice these days. The unpleasant exception should not be the basis of the exclusion of soliciting convictions from the Freedoms Bill amnesty. These convictions were often maliciously intended by policemen and those men involved were frequently intimidated into pleading guilty in exchange for a shameful but brief court appearance and nothing put in the newspapers, if they were lucky. This is a shameful reflection of how our society was. People so prosecuted should be given the chance to live their lives without fear and should be given the chance of an amnesty as well like those in the other groups. The current situation is not fair.

  12. Gay Activist Paul Mitchell 5 Oct 2012, 4:33am

    Long overdue law coming into effect is a good start! However it should go further and also wipe criminal gay sex convictions between 1967 and 2001/2003!

    Because the horrible old, outdated, embarrassing, stupid and hateful words of “buggery” and “gross indecency” we’re on the UK law books until all the way to 2003.

    Remember this is another distraction away from civil marriage equality for gay couples the UK Government promised to implement by 2015! That is only two year and three months away!
    Time to get cracking if I was you and introduce the bill now to the House of Commons David Cameroon!

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