People who broke the law should not be treated later as if they had not

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Stephen Glenn (letters, November 3) is being deliberately mischievous when it comes to my comments on the ramifications of pardoning men for homosexual offences, which I oppose, not support.

Mr Glenn claims that I suggested people who were convicted of consensual unlawful carnal knowledge with 16-year-old girls before the age of consent was reduced from 17 to 16 should be pardoned.

I did nothing of the sort. I merely pointed out that some sex crimes involving heterosexuals have also been decriminalised over the years, but I hear no demand for pardons in this respect.

Given Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, it may be discriminatory and thus unlawful in Northern Ireland to offer pardons on the basis of sexual orientation.

I hold to my belief - as accurately reported by your paper on 31st October - that “it is foolishness to rewrite history by retrospective decriminalisation.... Thus, in my opinion, those who broke the law at any point in time should not be treated as if they hadn’t years later, whoever they are.”

Mr Glenn is entitled to his view but he should desist from distorting the position of others to suggest they agree with him.

Jim Allister, MLA, by email