Alan Turing has been granted a royal pardon for the 1952 conviction on charges of homosexual activity. According to news reports the pardon was granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy. It is really good that this small step was taken to at least begin to correct a terrible injustice even if there is no way to fully correct what happened. However I am struck by the name Royal Prerogative of Mercy; it has a disconcerting feel to it. Why not have a Royal Prerogative of Reversing Bigotry?
And of course the obvious question is what about Oscar WIlde who was convicted and imprisoned on similar charges? Is a Royal Pardon only available to those who have a group of well known and well organized persons supporting the pardon? What about the many persons who were prosecuted for sexual activity between consenting adults? Will each of them be getting a Royal Pardon? If not why not?
UPDATE: Cheryl Morgan @CherylMorgan retweeted a post by Intercom Trust @IntercomTrust which pointed to document describing a method for requesting that records be cleared for persons convicted in situations similar to those of Alan Turing. The URL is http://www.intercomtrust.org.uk/news/DevCorn_police_statement_January_2013.pdf and since I do not live in a jurisdiction where this is relevant and am not an expert on UK law then all I can say is that if you think this applies to you perhaps you should consult proper legal advice. Of course the obvious question is why does someone need to make an application; why not clean up the records automatically? The persons with these records have already been through enough why not just do the right thing and clear the records without making these persons jump through more bureaucratic hoops?
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