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How to wipe historical sex charges if you’re a gay man in New Zealand

Adam Bloodworth April 12, 2018

Historical homosexual convictions in New Zealand can now be wiped.

The New Zealand government have revealed a new act to protect the men who were convicted under anti-sodomy laws which are now outdated.

The Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Act 2018 is now in effect, as of April 10th and will erase former convictions from the legal records of men.

Consensual sex between two males over 16 was illegal in New Zealand before it was decriminalised in 1986.

Between 1965 and 1986, nearly 1,000 were found guilty of homosexual offences.

For convictions to be wiped from records, the crime in question must no longer be an offence under today’s laws.

Which means that anyone who was convicted for homosexual activity before the ban was lifted in 1986 can now be treated as if they have never been convicted.

Who is eligible

Anyone who was convicted of one of five specific offences below can apply to have their convictions expunged, the legal term for wiped.

  • section 141 (indecency between males) Crimes Act 1961
  • section 142 (sodomy) Crimes Act 1961
  • section 146 (keeping place of resort for homosexual acts) Crimes Act 1961
  • section 153 (unnatural offence) Crimes Act 1908 but only for offences committed with any other male human being
  • section 154 (attempt to commit unnatural offence) Crimes Act 1908 but only for offences attempted to be committed with or against any other male human being

Men in New Zealand can apply, and families of men who have since died can apply too.

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

How to apply

Applying for expungement has been made super easy to do.

Just fill out the form halfway down this page on the New Zealand government’s website and there is no cost to apply.

The form is simple to fill out and requests personal details as well as the circumstances of the ‘offence.’

All completed applications must then be sent to the email: [email protected] or returned by post.

How it happened

The country’s parliament are expunging historical offences after a unanimous vote was passed.

New Zealand’s finance minister Grant Robertson said in parliament: “We stand tonight, as a Parliament, and we say: ‘I’m sorry,'”

“As a man who has been able to live his life relatively freely as a homosexual male, as a person who is able to come to this Parliament and get heckled and abused by the National Party because I am the Finance Minister, not because I am a gay man.”

“The constant fear and the reminder of the worthlessness and the shame of your mere existence is not something we can put away so easily because it echoes through generations.”

Britons convicted of similar historic offences can also apply to have them deleted via our own Government’s website.

More: Crime, legal action

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