28/06/2018

Abolished Homosexual Offence Convictions To Be 'Disregarded And Pardoned'

Convictions for abolished homosexual offences are to be "disregarded and pardoned" following a change to Northern Irish law, the Department of Justice has announced.

The new law, agreed by the Assembly in November 2016, facilitates the removal of convictions for such offences from police and court records.

Convictions that are disregarded will be considered as never having happened and will no longer appear on criminal records or in any criminal record checks.

It also means that there is no requirement to disclose the abolished offence, for example on job application forms or in court cases.
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To have historic convictions disregarded, an application must be made to the Department of Justice. If an application is successful the person is also, by law, pardoned for the offence.

Anyone who was convicted of an abolished homosexual offence and who has since died is also, by law, pardoned for the offence.

The provisions ensure that only offences which are no longer an offence today, and which involved consensual activity with someone over the age of 17, are eligible to be disregarded or pardoned.

The change to the law comes as Arlene Foster, the leader of the DUP, is due to attend an LGBT summit at Stormont.

(MH/LM)

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