The Irish Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 contained provisions criminalising ‘buggery’ between males. The applicant alleged at the European Court of Human Rights that such provisions violated his right to respect for private life in contravention of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court found for the applicant. While the applicant had never been prosecuted, the depression he suffered as a result of this risk, in the eyes of the court, meant that he had sufficient standing to bring the case before the European Court.
Mr. Dudgeon, a gay man, alleged that the existence in Northern Ireland of laws which have the effect of making certain homosexual acts between consenting adult males criminal offences, violated his right to respect for his private life. The European Court of Human Rights held that laws prohibiting certain homosexual acts between consenting adult males constituted an unjustified interference with Dudgeon’s rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to privacy).
The Report, published in the UK in 1957 and disregarding the conventional ideas of its day, recommended that ‘homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence.’ The Committee determined that it was not the function of the law to intervene in the private life of citizens. The Committee also rejected the idea that homosexuality was a disease.