|A fitting memorial to a great man|
Thousands of gay & bisexual men convicted of now abolished sexual offences will be posthumously pardoned, Justice Minister Sam Gyimah announced. The change will see those convicted for consensual same-sex relationships before the change in the law formally pardoned. The announcement underlines a government commitment to build on the case of Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing, who committed suicide following his conviction for gross indecency and was posthumously pardoned by Her Majesty the Queen in 2013.
Minister Gyimah said the government would seek to implement the change through an amendment to the Policing & Crime Bill. Anyone living who has been convicted of these now abolished offences can already apply through the Home Office to have their names cleared through the disregard process. This removes any mention of an offence from criminal record checks.
In an important step, the government also announced it will introduce a new statutory pardon for the living in cases where offences have been successfully deleted through the disregard process.
The government will not support a separate Private Members’ Bill on the subject, brought forward by John Nicolson MP and set to be debated in Parliament on Friday 21 October 2016. Mr Nicolson’s Bill proposes a blanket pardon for the living without the need to go through the disregard process. However this could lead, in some cases, to people claiming to be cleared of offences that are still crimes – including sex with a minor and non-consensual sexual activity.