by Luke SMALL
against the United Kingdom
lodged on 12 February 2006
STATEMENT OF FACTS
The applicant, Mr Luke Small, is a British national who was born on 12 October 1989 and lives in St Peters, Jersey.
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.
The applicant is homosexual. At the time of lodging this application, he was sixteen years of age. He became aware of his attraction to other men when he was thirteen years of age. He had his first homosexual encounter when he was sixteen with another person of his own age who was also homosexual. They had sexual relations but both worried about the relevant law of Jersey at the material time which only decriminalised homosexual acts in private if the parties consented and were at least eighteen years of age. He further alleges that the Jersey police investigated his private life and attempted to prosecute his partner under this law.
B. Relevant domestic law
Section 1 (1) of the Sexual Offences (Jersey) Law 1990 provided that a homosexual act in private was not punishable as sodomy if the parties to the act consented and had attained eighteen years of age. At the material time acts of homosexuality between women were not criminal offences and it was an offence for a man to have sexual intercourse with a girl under sixteen years of age.
The relevant law has since been amended by section 12 of the Sexual Offences (Jersey) Law 2007 (which entered into force on 12 January 2007) which provides that a person shall not be guilty of sodomy if the act is committed in private and each of the parties to the act consents and is sixteen years of age or over.
The applicant complains that the fixing of the minimum age for lawful homosexual activities between men at eighteen years of age, rather than sixteen as for heterosexual activities, violated his right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the Convention and was discriminatory in breach of that Article taken in conjunction with Article 14.
QUESTIONS TO THE PARTIES