Words: Steve Brown
The only two men in Northern Ireland to apply for pardons for abolished gay sex offences have had their appeal turned down.
Back in 2017, the Turing Law – named after Bletchley code-breaker Alan Turing – came into force and allowed people who were convicted for gay offences that are no longer crimes to be pardoned, meaning they would no longer appear on criminal records.
The legislation was approved by the Northern Ireland Assembly back in 2016.
But so far, only two people in Northern Ireland have applied to the Department of Justice to have their convictions removed, the BBC reported.
However, both applications were unsuccessful.
The two men were supported by the Rainbow Project – an LGBT support group based in Northern Ireland.
Spokesperson John O’Doherty told the BBC: "The introduction of pardon measures for historic convictions was an important move in recognising that criminalising consenting gay and bi men was always wrong.
"This criminalisation damaged many people's lives and left them with a criminal record for doing nothing wrong.
"While it is disappointing that more people didn't apply for a pardon, it doesn't take away from the important message sent by the introduction of pardons."