A British man convicted 51 years ago of having gay sex continues to have a criminal record despite the offence no longer being a crime.

The Guardian reported on Monday that 70 year old Londoner John Crawford is preparing to take legal action after he discovered that he remains listed as a sexual offender on the national police database.

Crawford was convicted of ‘buggery’ when he was 19 years old after having consensual sex with another man. He claims that he was beaten and tortured by police for weeks until he finally admitted that he is gay.

Under British law he must disclose his criminal record should he apply for any position including, most recently, even when applying to work with vulnerable people as a volunteer.

“…I’ve analysed my life and found out the amount of my jobs that I’ve lost because I’ve got a criminal record,” Crawford told the newspaper.

“What I want to do is apply for voluntary work and, when it comes to the box on the application form that says ‘do you have a criminal record’, I want to be able to say no,” he added.

Crawford’s lawyers have demanded that the government change the rules of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Exceptions Order 1975, or they will take the matter to the high court.

Crawford said that he had previously not told anyone about his conviction, not even his former partner of 25 years.

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