Pardons granted for historical homosexual offences

By Siobhan Fletcher   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 29th June 2022 11:00 am
@siobhanfletcher
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The Cabinet of Queeriosity, now open at the Manx Museum features Alan Shea’s infamous Tynwald Day protest outfit (Isle of Man Newspapers )

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Full pardons have now been granted to all people convicted of historical homosexual offences on the Isle of Man.

Anyone who has been cautioned or convicted of a historic sexual offence will be automatically pardoned from today, if the act would no longer be considered a crime in modern law.

The measure will also apply to anyone who has died since their conviction.

The ability to grant pardons in this way was incorporated into the Sexual Offences and Obscene Publications Act 2021 and has been applied this week by the Department of Home Affairs.

Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Jane Poole-Wilson MHK, said: ‘I hope that these automatic pardons will help to address at least some of the hurt caused by our historical laws.

‘It is very difficult to accept how it was once common place for people to be criminalised in this way.’

She added: ‘Our society has progressed and become much more inclusive and tolerant than when these discriminatory laws were in place, but we still have work to do to protect everyone in our community.’

In addition to the pardons, people will also now be able to apply to the Department of Home Affairs to have any historical conviction removed from their record.

This formal ‘disregard’ process means that any conviction, caution, warning or reprimand would be considered as having never happened, and would not appear on a criminal record or in any criminal record checks.

This process is expected to take no longer than 12 weeks from application, and guidance has been produced to help applicants through the process.

Automatic pardons and disregards will not apply to any convictions where the offence would still be considered a crime, such as non-consensual sex and having sex with someone aged under 16.

The news comes as the Manx Museum this week opened it’s temporary ‘Cabinet of Queeriosity’ exhibition.

It celebrates the history of the Isle of Man’s queer community and how it is reflected in places, objects, landscapes and culture, and was co-curated by Manx National Heritage and Kensington Arts, and is supported by Isle of Pride.

We will have more on the exhibition’s launch and the historic pardons in this week’s Manx Independent, out tomorrow.

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