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Northern Ireland is set to get its own ‘Turing’s Law’ to pardon historic gay sex offences

Joseph McCormick November 8, 2016
BBC Icons: World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing

(Creative Commons)

Men convicted of historic gay sex offences in Northern Ireland could be pardoned if proposed plans go ahead.

A motion to pardon gay men convicted of now abolished sex offences was announced by Northern Irish Justice Minister Claire Sugden.

The proposed move would bring Northern Ireland in line with England and Wales

Plans to pardon men convicted of the offences were announced in October by the UK Government.

The motion for England and Wales has become known as ‘Turing’s Law’ after Alan Turing, the World War II codebreaker and computer genius.

It is expected that the Northern Irish motion will contain similar provisions which would posthumously pardon those no longer living, as well as pardoning gay and bisexual men still alive.

Ms Sugden said she had sought executive agreement to put forward a legislative consent motion to the assembly to pardon the men.

She said they would go ahead “as soon as possible to ensure that there is equal treatment for gay and bisexual men here as for their counterparts in England and Wales”.

“This is an opportunity for the criminal justice system to try and right the wrongs of the past and one which will allow for much earlier resolve than that presented by way of an assembly bill,” she continued.

Computing hero World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was previously granted a one-off posthumous royal pardon in 2013.

More: Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland, turing's law

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