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Apology for convicted Homosexuals long overdue

Apology for convicted Homosexuals long overdue

Release Date: Thursday, 06 December 2017

Today in Parliament, Amy Adams, Minister for Justice will formally apologise to around 1000 men who were convicted for homosexual acts.

Today will also be the first reading of the Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill for the first reading to allow the changes for individuals to apply to quash their criminal convictions for homosexual acts.

Rawa Karetai of ILGA Oceania (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) welcomes the bill as it has nearly been 31 years since the 1986 Homosexual Law Reform passed in Parliament. Karetai said, “While a blanket pardon similar to the United Kingdoms approach would be better, this move is a good compromise”.

About 1000 men will be eligible to have their convictions quashed. Karetai said, “we hope this bill once it becomes an Act helps restore justice for the wrongful convictions that homosexual men.”

The stigma of the convictions has impacted people's lives. Karetai continued saying that, “We know that the convictions have impacted employment opportunities and therefore earning potential as well as causing a social discomfort among family and friends.”

Applying for the convictions to be quashed will be difficult for some, “There are still people today talking to counsellors about their convictions. The process of applying for their convictions to be quashed is traumatic for some as they do not want to revisit what happened before 1986” Karetai said. “It might be difficult for some to prove their innocence especially for those representing the deceased.”

END

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