Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Questions (451)

Mick Wallace


451. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when she expects to have legislation before Dáil Éireann to provide for cautions and convictions for lesser crimes to be deemed to be spent; if she does not have such plans, the reason there is no such provision envisaged and the reason Ireland will not be introducing such legislation, which is the norm in the vast majority of legislative jurisdictions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11341/15]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Criminal Justice Spent Convictions Bill has passed Committee Stage in the Dáil, having passed all stages in the Seanad. However, before the Bill could be taken at Report Stage, a 2013 UK Court of Appeal judgment necessitated a review of the disclosure provisions in both the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 and the Spent Convictions Bill.

Pending the amendment of both the Spent Convictions Bill, and the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012, an Administrative Filter for Garda Vetting Disclosures has now been introduced. In accordance with the provisions of this filter over 80% of district court convictions now become spent after 7 years and are no longer being disclosed in Garda Vetting Disclosures. It is proposed to amend the Bill to mirror the provisions contained in the administrative filter and have a common standard for minor convictions becoming spent after 7 years. Under the current provisions of the Bill a circuit court conviction which results in a penalty of up to 12 months imprisonment could become spent. It is proposed to retain a provision in the Bill which will allow one such circuit court conviction to become spent after 7 years.

The amendments to the Bill are being finalised at present and I intend to bring these before the Oireachtas as soon as possible in order that the Bill will be enacted before the summer.