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Folklaw | The Profumo scandal scapegoat

Andrew Lugger examines the charges brought against 
Dr Stephen Ward under the Sexual Offences Act 1956

18 January 2013

There is a subtle common theme that emerges in this article – 1956. Parliament enacted the Sexual Offences Act in 1956, the year that Red Army tanks rolled into Hungary, Teddy Boys rocked around the clock and Eden orchestrated the last charge of the British Empire to liberate the Suez Canal.

Viscount Kilmuir introduced the Sexual Offences Bill to the House of Lords on 24 January 1956 to correct, consolidate and thereby improve the “law of England and Wales relating to sexual crimes, to the ab-duction, procuration and prostitution of women...”. This new statute replaced much of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 and made significant changes to the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and Vagrancy Act 1898.

Life in high society reached a pinnacle in 1956 for the West End osteopath, Dr Stephen Ward. He had exchanged provincial practice in his hometown of Torquay for the glitter of th...

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