The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has issued an official state apology to all homosexuals convicted under the laws prohibiting the sexual activity of same-sex couples. These laws that were not repealed until 1981, fourteen years later than their equivalents in
and Wales. The
new legislation, called the Historical Sexual Offences- Pardons and Disregards
( Scotland) Bill,
also acts as a pardon. It will automatically remove all former offenders from
the sex offenders register and wipe clean their criminal records, regardless of
how long ago it was before the repeal that their prosecution took place. It was
a very moving moment. As Ms Sturgeon read out the speech there were two old men
in the public gallery with tears in their eyes, obviously two people who
suffered as a result of this injustice. They must have been waiting a long time
for this announcement, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-41891397.
The offshoot of this new legislation is that it sets a legal precedent that can
apply to other people who were found guilty of breaking laws that were then
subsequently repealed by decree of statute. Regular readers will guess that I
am talking, of course, about Helen Duncan. Of course English law is what counts
in this case, but what has been done in Scotland
will help. Thanks to the "Turing Laws", see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/helen-duncan-pardon-breakthrough.html,
Helen is already in line for receiving a pardon and apology for her 1944
conviction under the Witchcraft Act of 1776; this new development in Scotland
will speed that along and also directly affect her previous Scottish criminal
record under the Vagrancy Act. Will we soon see the complete pardoning of Helen
Duncan? I think so! See here for more details about the campaign: http://www.helenduncan.org.uk/.
See here for background: http://hpanwo-radio.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/programme-144-podcast-margaret-hahn.html.