Rights Court Hears Gay Britons Plea on Private Sex
Reuters, November 30, 1999
STRASBOURG, France A British homosexual convicted for sex
sessions at his home with several other men put his case to the European Court of Human
Rights on Tuesday, arguing that his right to privacy had been breached.
The 51-year-old, given a two-year suspended jail sentence in late 1996 after a police
raid on his house, pleaded a breach of privacy and discrimination on the grounds that gay
women and heterosexuals could do likewise without prosecution.
"The applicant submits that being charged and convicted for his participation in
acts of oral sex and mutual masturbation with more than one other consenting adult male in
the privacy of his own home constituted interference with his private life," said a
statement from the court after the hearing.
The man, convicted after police seized video footage of him engaging in sexual activity
with up to four men, based his plea on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human
"He further complains of discrimination under Article 14 of the Convention, as a
group of heterosexual individuals or homosexual females involved in similar sexual
activities would not have been prosecuted, there being no legislation prohibiting such
acts," the statement said.
The plaintiff, whose name was not released, was convicted of gross indecency under
Britains 1956 Sexual Offences Act.
He secured the right to a hearing at the French-based court in March and a ruling is
expected within weeks.