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Victorian Coalition Government will overturn convictions for historical homosexual offences

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People convicted of homosexual sex in Victoria are set to be able to have their convictions expunged, with Premier Denis Napthine today announcing that the Victorian Coalition Government will legislate to allow this to occur.

Homosexual acts between men were illegal in Victoria until 1981 and were prosecuted under a variety of offences such as buggery and gross indecency with a male person.

Dr Napthine said the Coalition Government would this year introduce legislation allowing for people who were convicted for such an offence to have their criminal records expunged, provided that the act they committed would not be an offence under today’s law.

Convictions for homosexual acts that were committed with a non-consenting person or with a minor will continue to stand.

“It is now accepted that consensual sexual acts between two adult men should never have been a crime. The Liberal Government, led by Sir Rupert Hamer, recognised this and decriminalised homosexual sex in the early 1980s,” Dr Napthine said.

“We also recognise the social and psychological impacts that have been experienced by those who have historical convictions for acts which would no longer be a crime under today’s law.

“People who have these convictions may have been impacted when travelling overseas or when applying for jobs that require a criminal history disclosure.

“These convictions have been allowed to stand for far too long which is why we will legislate to rectify this situation.”

Attorney-General Robert Clark said the reforms were expected to be effective commencing in 2015.

“It is proposed that an individual who has an historical conviction for an offence relating to homosexual acts that would not be a crime under today’s law will be able to apply to have their conviction expunged,” Mr Clark said.

“The application would be reviewed to ensure the historical offence related to a consensual act with a person of legal age. If it is determined that the conviction related to an act that would no longer be an offence then the conviction will henceforth be treated for all legal purposes as never having occurred.”

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