Past Convictions – Rehabilitation Periods
Does someone have to give information about past convictions?
Someone who has a past conviction for a criminal offence may want to know if they have to give information about the conviction and if so, under what circumstances.
Common situations where someone may be asked to declare a conviction include:
- when taking out an insurance policy
- when applying for a job
- when applying for a visa
The Rehabilitation of Offenders (Jersey) Law, 2001 is the legislation that governs the declaration of criminal convictions.
If a past conviction is one that does not normally have to be declared under the rules of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Law, if it is referred to as a spent conviction.
So a person with a spent conviction does not normally have to mention it e.g. when applying for a job unless they are specifically asked.
A spent conviction will not show on a basic DBS criminal record search.
All convictions will show on an enhanced search.
You can see how long it takes for a conviction to become spent here.
Parish Hall Enquiries
Written or verbal cautions and Parish Hall Enquiry fines are not criminal convictions and therefore are not covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Law and will not show on criminal records.
Any penalties imposed at a Parish Hall Enquiry are known as a sanction and will appear as such on a person’s police record only.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Law
There are certain convictions which can never become spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Law and will always shows on criminal records. A person who has such a conviction always has to declare it if they are asked about their past convictions.
An example is a person who was given a prison sentence of more than two and a half years for a particular conviction. It is the length of the original sentence that counts, not how long the person actually spends in prison. For example, if the sentence was for five years, and the person was given early release after two years, the conviction could never be spent and would always have to be declared.
Convictions which do not have to declare
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Law states that spent convictions do not normally have to be declared. A conviction becomes spent and does not have to be declared after a fixed period. The fixed period is known as a rehabilitation period and runs from the date when the person was convicted by the court.
The length of the rehabilitation period depends on the sentence that was given to the person.
If someone is convicted again during the rehabilitation period
Someone may offend and be sentenced again during the rehabilitation period. Both convictions have to be declared until the longer of the two rehabilitation periods is over.
If someone breaches a binding over order or probation order they are then likely to be brought back to court and re-sentenced. The person is not rehabilitated in respect of the first conviction until the rehabilitation period for the new sentence has been completed.
Disclosure during criminal proceedings
If someone has to appear in Court as a defendant, evidence of spent convictions is not admissible and questions concerning such matters cannot be asked during the proceedings.
Courts hearing criminal cases will still have full criminal records before them for the purpose of deciding what sentence to pass.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Law does not affect the admission of evidence of previous offenders and convictions in proceedings relating to minors.
If someone who is a defendant or witness gives their consent for previous convictions to be made known, that is allowed.
Revealing previous offences or convictions should only happen when the Court is satisfied that justice cannot be done unless evidence of spent convictions is admitted.
Unauthorised disclosure of a spent conviction
The Law makes it an offence for anyone who has access to official records to disclose information unless it is in the course of their official duties.
A person guilty of an offence is liable to a fine not exceeding Level 3 on the standard scale.
Any person who obtains any information on convictions from any official record by means of fraud, dishonesty or bribe is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding Level 4 on the standard scale or both.