find the latest legal job
Banking Associate - 1-6PQE - Allen & Overy
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: United Kingdom
· Banking Associate - 1-6 PQE - Allen & Overy
View details
Academic Dean and Head of School of the TC Beirne School of Law
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· An outstanding opportunity · Provide educational, research and organisational leadership
View details
Senior Property Lawyer I Commercial Litigator
Category: Property Law | Location: Arncliffe NSW 2205
· Rapidly growing law firm, working with a highly experienced team in a high growth industry across all areas of property and strata law
View details
Senior Property Lawyer I Commercial Litigator
Category: Property Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Rapidly growing law firm, working with a highly experienced team in a high growth industry across all areas of property and strata law
View details
Senior Property Lawyer I Commercial Litigator
Category: Property Law | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· Rapidly growing law firm, working with a highly experienced team in a high growth industry across all areas of property and strata law
View details
Vic government urged to consider spent convictions scheme

Vic government urged to consider spent convictions scheme

victorian reports

The Law Institute of Victoria has called on the state government to consider laws that will wipe the criminal record of people who have committed certain ‘low level’ offences, with a new spent convictions scheme.

LIV has backed recommendations for Victoria to introduce a spent convictions scheme in line with other states.

The practical effect of a spent convictions scheme is to allow a person who has a criminal record of low level offences to have their record ‘wiped clean’. Offences considered to be ‘low level’ would include charges such as minor shoplifting, possession of cannabis or the fraudulent use of a state transit concession card.

The scheme would mean that an eligible offender’s records would be expunged of minor offences after a number of years.

According to a new report released by Liberty Victoria’s Rights Advocacy Project, the scheme helps offenders find employment and participate more fully in the community.  

LIV president Belinda Wilson said that the time has come for Victoria to legislate such a scheme, in line with the rest of Australia.

“The lack of a formal spent convictions scheme is leaving Victorians susceptible to discrimination and undermining their ability to rehabilitate and fully participate in community life,” Ms Wilson said.

The LIV president accepted that the initial punishment imposed for a proven offences were both right and just. However, she noted that once that punishment has been served, it should not prevent an offender from rehabilitating and reintegrating into society.

“Charges [wiped under the scheme] might relate to behaviour that occurred during a lapse of judgment, a period of difficulty, mental health issues, or during a phase of a person’s life that they may have moved on from by the time the charges are heard by the court,” Ms Wilson said.

In Victoria, any crime a person has been found guilty of, even in cases of non-conviction, will still show up on their record. Pending charges, where a person has not yet been found guilty, may also appear.

Ms Wilson added that the current status quo in Victoria, where police have the discretion to choose which parts of a person’s criminal record is disclosed in a criminal check, must change.

“An individual’s prior convictions, no matter how minor, can follow a person around forever.

“This is of particular concern given the growing use of criminal history checks in pre-employment assessments,” Ms Wilson said.

The recent report released by Liberty Victoria based on a 2015 submission by LIV argued Victoria should align itself with the Commonwealth and other states to implement spent convictions legislation.

The LIV submission called for findings of guilt without conviction and less serious and irrelevant convictions to be removed from a person’s criminal record after 10 years for adult convictions and three years for juvenile convictions.

“It is important to remember that not everyone who has a criminal record is a serious offender and that most people do not offend again, especially when they have not reoffended for a significant period,” Ms Wilson said.

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Vic government urged to consider spent convictions scheme
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
Jan 22 2018
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
The #mypathtolaw hashtag has been embraced by legal eagles to swap stories with the Twitter communit...
Jan 22 2018
Legal body disappointed with DPP emails leaked to tabloid
The NSW Bar Association has expressed “profound disappointment” over leaked emails from the NSW ...
Gavel, legal book, criminal lawyers
Jan 19 2018
Three criminal lawyers named NSW magistrates
The NSW Attorney-General has announced the appointment of three new local court magistrates. ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...