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Equalities Committee seeks views on Historic Pardons Bill 24/11/2017 The Equalities and Human Rights Committee is looking to hear views on the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Bill

Equalities Committee seeks views on Historic Pardons Bill

Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee is looking to hear views from the general public as the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) Bill starts its journey through the Scottish Parliament.

Before the Bill can become a law, it will undergo thorough scrutiny by Members on the Committee. The Bill proposes granting a pardon to all men convicted of consensual same-sex activity under old discriminatory laws and, if applied for, a legal disregard. A disregard would mean that their criminal record would not be considered if a background check were carried out.

“This Bill sets out to correct a historic injustice by ensuing that convictions don’t continue to harm the lives of men convicted of acts which are no longer a crime,” said Committee Convener Christina McKelvie MSP. “It is very important that we learn the lessons of how these discriminatory laws impacted on the lives of people so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.”

“As a Committee, we will be spending a few months looking at the details of the Bill so we can consider any areas which may need to be improved or changed. We want to hear from anyone who has a view on the Bill,” she added. “We are especially anxious to hear from men who will receive a pardon and who may wish to apply for a disregard of their criminal records. If you, or someone close to you, will be impacted by the Bill we urge you to take part in our work. We will treat your personal stories with sensitivity.”

The Committee is keen to hear about views on the process for obtaining a ‘disregard’, and whether or not the Bill goes far enough to address the impact that past discriminatory laws have had on the men convicted under them.

Comments are sought by 19th January.

The Bill can be found here.

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