George Klippert

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George Klippert
Born Everett George Klippert
1926
Kindersley, Saskatchewan
Died 1996 (aged 69–70)
Cause of death Kidney disease
Criminal charge Gross indecency
Criminal penalty Preventive detention

Everett George Klippert (September 6, 1926 - August 7, 1996) was the last person in Canada to be arrested, charged, prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned for gross indecency before the decriminalization of homosexual acts in 1969; the reform was a direct result of the Klippert case.[1]

Klippert, originally from Kindersley, Saskatchewan, was raised in Calgary, Alberta. In 1960 he was convicted on eighteen charges of gross indecency and sentenced to four years imprisonment. Upon his release, he moved to northern Canada. He was working as a mechanic in Pine Point, Northwest Territories, in 1965 when he was picked up by police for questioning in connection with a case of suspected arson. Although he was found not to have had any involvement in the fire, Klippert voluntarily admitted to having had recent consensual homosexual relations with four different adult men. He was subsequently arrested and charged with four counts of "gross indecency".

A court-ordered psychiatrist assessed Klippert as "incurably homosexual", and Klippert was sentenced to "preventive detention" (that is, indefinitely) as a dangerous sexual offender. Klippert appealed to the Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories; his appeal was dismissed. He then appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada; his appeal was dismissed on November 7, 1967, in a controversial 3–2 decision.[2]

The day after Klippert's conviction was upheld, New Democratic Party leader Tommy Douglas invoked Klippert's name in the House of Commons of Canada, stating that homosexuality should not be considered a criminal issue. Within six weeks, Pierre Trudeau presented the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 (Bill C-150), an omnibus bill which, among other things, decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults. The law passed, and homosexuality was decriminalized in Canada in 1969.

Klippert remained in prison until his release on July 21, 1971. He lived 25 more years before his death from kidney disease in 1996.

In 2016 the government of Justin Trudeau indicated that it plans to recommend a formal posthumous pardon of Klippert's conviction.[3]

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