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Criminal Justice Rules – GROSS INDECENCY

Comment 3rd July 2010

Amend the Criminal Justice rules to allow men convicted of engaging in consensual adult sex with another man (an activity no longer illegal since the full decriminalisation of gross indecency in 2003) to return to court and have their convictions quashed.

Why does this matter?

The old gross indecency law only applied to men who had sex with other men (both gender discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination).

The ECHR found the law to contravene human rights and Parliament had no choice but to fully decriminalise gay sex (between men).

By allowing these men to return to court and have their convictions quashed finally draws a line under the historic treatment of gay men. It would mark an end to the residual issues flowing from the decriminalisation of gross indecency and allow those men to be treated as innocent: thus having their criminal records, including DNA and fingerprint records, deleted.

It would allow these men to put the disciminatory treatment and most painful period of their lives  truly behind them. Simply amending the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 is not enough. Amend the Criminal Justice rules and allow these men to have their convictions quashed.

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