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Pardons for homosexual offences to take effect from June

Alan Shea (left) Tynwald Day, 1991

But police apology still owed says campaigner

Pardons for people convicted of homosexual offences on the Isle of Man will take effect from June - 30 years after acts of consensual homosexuality were decriminalised.

A clause within the Sexual Offences and Obscene Publications Bill 2021 will be 'switched on' - paving the way for individuals to automatically receive pardons.

A subsequent 'disregard process' will be established simultaneously to allow people to apply to have previous convictions wiped from their criminal record.

Lewis Foster spoke with Home Affairs and Justice Minister Jane Poole-Wilson who says whilst the move has been a long time coming a Bill as sizeable as this comes with its challenges:

It's not known how many people the change will affect as prosecutions date back over 100 years and records from the early part of the 20th century are unclear.

"Just wipe the record, clear them!"

Former gay rights campaigner Alan Shea, whose Tynwald Day protest in 1991 paved the way for decriminalisation the following year, says the pardons can't come soon enough:

"Life here was hell, the police were out of control."

When the Sexual Offences and Obscene Publications Act was passed then-Chief Minister Howard Quayle apologised on behalf of Tynwald for the laws which led to the persecution of gay men on the Isle of Man.

However there's still one authority Mr Shea has been waiting a long time for an apology from - the Isle of Man Constabulary:

He isn't the only person in recent years to call for a police apology - the list of which includes former Peel MHK Hazel Hannan and British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Manx Radio approached the Isle of Man Constabulary for comment. 

A spokesperson said chief constable Gary Roberts' views on this matter have been made 'clear' and "he will not revisit the issue".

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