Only 174 pardons for historical gay sex convictions have been issued in England and Wales since “Turing’s Law” was passed last year.
The law, which followed a posthumous pardon issued to wartime codebreaker Alan Turing (pictured) in 2013, allows the thousands of men who were convicted of historical gay sex offences to apply for a formal pardon.
The men are also permitted to apply through the Home Office’s disregard process to have their offences removed.
Pink News reports that of the 100,000 men convicted under the anti-gay laws prior to the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, it is believed an estimated 10,000 are still alive.
Responding to a written question in Parliament, Baroness Williams of Trafford said: “Pardons under Section 165 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 are granted automatically when an individual applies successfully for a conviction to be disregarded.
“To date, there have been 174 pardons granted through this route, from 404 applications for convictions to be disregarded.
“If a disregard application is unsuccessful, the applicant will receive a letter detailing the reason for rejection.”
The numbers reflect that 230 applications for pardons – 56 per cent of the total – have been rejected.
“Most applications are unsuccessful as the convictions concerned are for ineligible offences, such as theft,” Baroness Williams said.
“Applications are also rejected if the activity was non-consensual, involved a person under 16, or remains an offence.”
The news comes as Queensland’s expungement scheme for men with historical gay sex convictions finally got under way at the end of June.
A person can apply to have records expunged for eligible offences if they were charged or convicted under the law, as it stood, before the decriminalisation of consensual adult homosexual activity in Queensland on January 19, 1991.