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Gay News 72, 5-18 June 1975

Justice… or Revenge?

The case of Peter Wells, reported this issue, came as something of a shock to us at GN. Hardened as we are by a steady stream of reports detailing fines and prison terms imposed upon homosexuals, we were nevertheless shaken by the decision to imprison Peter for 2 and a half years for acts of consentual [sic] sex with two 18-year-old adults.

Nor was this the whimsical decision of a crown court judge who happened to have toothache and a grudge on the day he passed. Rather it was the culmination of a full judicial process decided finally by a bench which included the Lord Chief justice of England himself – the highest paid legal officer in the land.

Peter was originally tried last September at the Old Bailey, where sentence was imposed. He appealed against its savagery, and told the Court of Criminal Appeal, in the persons of Lord Chief Justice Widgery, Lord Justice James, and Mr Justice May, that he had been seriously mistreated by other prisoners – to the point where he had been placed in solitary confinement for his own protection.

But that cut no ice with the judges. They confirmed his sentence in the face of reports recommending Peter’s release.

As Peter was dragged out of court, he shouted ‘haven’t you had enough vengeance?’

That is a cry which we at Gay News echo from the bottom of our hearts.

Gay News 72 - editorial

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