Prerogative of Mercy

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 3rd July 2015.

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Photo of Mark Hendrick Mark Hendrick Labour/Co-operative, Preston

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the pardon granted to Alan Turing for his conviction under the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, what his policy is on granting pardons posthumously to people convicted under (a) the Witchcraft Acts 1563 and 1603, (b) the Blasphemy Act 1604 and (c) other legislation that has been repealed.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Your question has been referred to the Ministry of Justice who have policy responsibility to this area. Any application for a pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy will be considered on its merits. A pardon is normally only granted if new evidence comes to light which demonstrates conclusively that the individual is innocent.

While Dr Turing’s pardon did not meet these requirements, we believe it was appropriate to take this exceptional step to recognise the unique abilities and achievements of a very great man.

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