Remembering Everett George Klippert

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in February 2016 that he “intends to recommend that a pardon under the authority of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy be granted posthumously” to Everett George Klippert, the only Canadian to be declared a dangerous sexual offender simply because he was gay.

“Everett Klippert’s case was instrumental in the government’s decision to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults,” said Cameron Ahmad, press secretary to the Prime Minister.

Everett George Klippert was born in 1926, and was convicted of 18 counts of gross indecency by a Calgary court in 1960, and spent four years in prison after pleading guilty to having consensual sex short of intercourse with other men. (Intercourse, or “buggery,” was a separate offence.) After a second conviction in 1965 on four additional counts of gross indecency, and a sentence of a further three years, the Crown attorney in Yellowknife applied to have him designated a dangerous sexual offender.

Two psychiatrists examined Mr. Klippert and concluded that he was not a pedophile or in any way inclined to violence but he was likely to once again seek out sex with men upon his release. Justice John Sissons then designated Mr. Klippert a dangerous sexual offender, and sentenced him to life imprisonment – in effect, for being gay.

In 1967 he Supreme Court of Canada upheld the designation in a 3-to-2 ruling, causing a furor in Parliament and the press. Then-justice minister Pierre Trudeau introduced legislation that, among other provisions, decriminalized consensual homosexual acts between two adult men. “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” he told reporters.

A similar bill became law in 1969, when Mr. Trudeau was prime minister. But for reasons that remain unclear, Mr. Klippert was not released on parole until 1971, having spent a total of 10 years in prison. Mr. Klippert moved to Edmonton, where he found work as a truck driver, and died in 1996, at the age of 69.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-to-consider-pardon-for-gay-men-convicted-under-pre-1969laws/article28927302/

http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/the-rocky-road-to-gay-rights

SP

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