Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (675, 676, 677)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

675. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality with regard to prosecutions that were unsuccessful and were struck out with no order, if these will be defined as minor offences under the new legislation coming forward in the autumn of this year; if matters relating to minor offences which have been struck out will not then appear on Garda vetting (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22633/14]

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Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

676. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality with regards to proposed new legislation if the soft information on the poll system will affect a young person who applies for Garda vetting in the autumn (details supplied); if a false allegation is made against a person and is ultimately declared null and void, can that be used against a person as soft information; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22634/14]

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Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

677. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality with regard to proposed legislation, which is supposed to be implemented this coming autumn with regard to minor offences, when this law will come into force; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22635/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 675 to 677, inclusive, together.

I refer the Deputy to previous replies to him in respect of PQs 16310, 16311 and 16312.

As I indicated previously to the Deputy the amendment of the Vetting Act will be done via the Spent Convictions Bill. I expect to be in a position to commence the provisions of the 2012 Act in the autumn of 2014.

The National Vetting Bureau (Children & Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 sets out procedures to allow the disclosure of criminal records and specified information for vetting purposes. “Specified information” is information other than a court determined criminal record. It is only disclosed if it is information which provides a bona-fide reason to believe that a person would pose a threat to a child or vulnerable person. In the example given by the Deputy, it is most unlikely that an acquittal for a minor theft offence would involve information of this type. An acquittal for a minor theft would therefore be unlikely to be disclosed. The Act also provides that the information must be assessed for its reliability and relevance, and the disclosure must be in accordance with principles of natural justice.