National has opened a can of worms : The conviction conundrum

Politician Peter Tait and businessman Keith Hay, from the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, carry a petition against homosexual law reform into Parliament, New Zealand in September 1985.

 

It is time for some logic on the law front. National have done something that many of us think is a nice gesture in an election year by retrospectively quashing convictions of Gay men for breaking the law back in the days when it was illegal to have homosexual sex. Don’t get me wrong it is a nice gesture but legally it sets a precedent and quite a dangerous one when you think about it logically.

If a law can be passed to quash convictions for past actions that in hindsight we now consider okay ……… what about the other way?

If we can wipe convictions for breaking the law in the past because we now in the present no longer consider the law breaking to be illegal, what if we apply to actions that in the past were considered legal the morality and laws of the present?

When ‘Sir’ did not spare the rod.

For example, if we now consider it illegal and brutal for teachers to hit kids sadistically (and probably for their own gratification) with bamboo sticks, can we pass a law that goes back to 1990 that retrospectively makes caning an illegal act? I am sure that there are a couple of past teachers of Whaleoilers who could do with a stint behind bars.
When you look at National’s actions more closely it becomes clear that tampering with the law by applying today’s morality is a bad way to make a nice gesture as it opens up a large can of worms.
Prostitution used to be illegal but now it is recognised as a career and is taxed. Will National now retrospectively wipe all the convictions of women who were convicted of solicitation?
What about the age of consent for sex and for drinking. These are all things that have changed over the years. Should we go back and retrospectively apply today’s laws to people who were convicted before the changes?

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