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Individual historical convictions may be quashed

Wed 14 Dec 2016 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

The Government may be about to create a process by which gay men convicted of having homosexual sex before it was decriminalised can have their convictions wiped from the record. Pressure has been put on the government to quash the convictions to release blameless gay men from the shadow of criminality. A petition organised by activist Wiremu Demchick asking for a blanket quashing of all convictions was earlier this year introduced to Parliament by gay then-Greens MP Kevin Hague. However, until now Justice minister Amy Adams has said that blanket quashing of the convictions would not be possible and addressing cases individually would be "very difficult." The problems seemed to be based on lack of detailed information in Departmental records and difficulty separating cases relating to consensual sex between two adults and cases where one partner was a minor. Information apparently leaked to TVNZ suggests Adams has asked departmental officials to work on a solution of how to allow individual cases to be researched and considered if a convicted man or a member of his family requests it. Such a solution would then be presented to Cabinet. But the minister has reportedly said today the matter is "a complicated issue." Petition organiser Wiremu Demchick says he was surprised when contacted for comment today as he knew nothing of the minister's request to officials to work on the possibility of individual cases being addressed. "But I'm very happy that at least they are looking at going down that path. A number of other judicial jurisdictions have adopted the same approach, including Queensland.    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 14th December 2016 - 8:43pm

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