QLS praises state government move to expunge historical gay convictions
11 May 2017
Queensland’s peak solicitor body has applauded the state government’s move to pave the way for the removal of historical criminal records of people convicted for having gay sex.
Queensland Law Society president Christine Smyth on Thursday (May 11) said the announcement was the culmination of a long-running campaign by QLS and other advocacy groups to rectify a stain on the reputations and criminal records of people wronged by such archaic and antiquated laws.
“The Society fully supports the policy of expunging all charges and convictions which arose from the offences repealed by the 1990 amendments to the Criminal Code," Ms Smyth said.
“We applaud the government for addressing the inequity created by this unjust legislation and fully support the notion of these convictions being permanently expunged.
“QLS has campaigned vigorously to ensure people convicted under these laws were no longer wrongly shamed and denied their basic human rights.
“It was a positive step to dispatch these laws to the annals of history more than 25-years ago, but allowing for those convicted under those laws to have it finally stricken from their record has been a long time coming."
Ms Smyth’s comments follow Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath’s announcement she was tasking the Queensland Law Reform Commission with the role of recommending how historical convictions for consensual homosexual conduct could be removed from a person’s criminal record.
“This is a complex issue due to the technicalities of Queensland’s Criminal Code and the historic nature of these cases.
“The QLRC will use its experience to consider the best approach to expunge these historical criminal convictions. This sends the clear message that outdated and intolerant attitudes towards our gay community belong in the past.”
Ms Smyth said QLS stood ready to provide to the government, QLRC and LBGTI community any assistance necessary to ensure all offences of this nature can be removed swiftly from the records of every convicted Queenslander.
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