Filter

Question

474. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide details of the types of motoring offences which she intends, when the Spent Convictions Bill 2012 is enacted, will be expunged and will not be expunged, after a period of time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19847/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill is awaiting report stage in the Dáil. However, 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. That review has been completed and amendments to the Vetting Act and consequential amendments to the Spent Convictions Bill are currently being drafted.
I intend to bring the amendments to the Bill before the Oireachtas as soon as possible with a view to enactment in the autumn. The Bill already provides that a conviction for a motoring offence can become spent if the sentence for the offence is a term of imprisonment of 12 months or less.
In addition, an Administrative Filter for Garda Vetting Disclosures has been introduced, which provides that certain minor offences that are over 7 years old are no longer disclosed. These include any district court convictions for motoring offences which are over seven years old.
A copy of this Administrative Filter is set out.

Garda Vetting Procedures
Administrative Filter
In anticipation of the amendment and commencement of the National Vetting Bureau Act 2012, an administrative filter in respect of Garda Vetting Unit Disclosures will operate in accordance with the following procedural guidelines.
A. Criminal Convictions to be disclosed in all cases:
1) Offences Against the Person.
2) Sexual Offences
3) Convictions on indictment.
B. District Court Convictions which will not be disclosed:
1) Motoring Offences:
District Court convictions for motoring offences will not be disclosed after 7 years even where more recent offences have been committed. This is because it is considered that old minor motoring offences would not be relevant due to the passage of time.
2) Minor Public Order Offences:
The following convictions under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 will not be disclosed if the offence is over 7 years old even where more recent offences have been committed:
- Section 4 (Intoxication),
- Section 5 (Disorderly conduct),
- Section 6 (Threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour),
- Section 7 (Distribution or display of material which is offensive),
- Section 8 (Failure to comply with direction of Garda),
- Section 9 (Wilful obstruction).
3) Other minor offences – 1 Only:
District Court convictions for any other minor offence will not be disclosed after 7 years where the person has one such offence only (excluding motoring or public order offences over 7 years old). This provision does not apply to offences against the person or to sexual offences.
C. Probation Act Provisions
Where persons have been dealt with by a district court in accordance with the provisions of section 1(1)(i) or 1(1)(ii) of the Probation Act 1907, the offences will not be disclosed except in cases where the circumstances of the offence gives rise to a bona fide concern that the person concerned may harm a child or vulnerable person.
Where persons have been dealt with by a court in accordance with section 1 (2) of the Probation Act, these will be disclosed in all cases. (Section 1 (2) relates solely to persons “convicted on indictment”.)
D. Offences in respect of which a person is charged but subsequently not prosecuted or acquitted.
Non convictions will be considered for disclosure where the circumstances of an offence gives rise to a bona fide concern that the person concerned may harm a child or vulnerable person. This information will only be disclosed if the information is of such a nature that its disclosure is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of children or vulnerable persons, or both, as the case may be.
The Garda Central Vetting Unit will make such decision in the context of:
- The information concerned
- The relevance of the information to the type of work/activity
- The source and reliability of the information
- The rights of the vetting applicant and any submissions made by them.
Where the GCVU makes a determination to disclose information under this section the GCVU will:
- Notify the person who is the subject of the application for the vetting disclosure concerned, in writing, of its determination and of the reasons for it,
- Provide to the person a copy of the information to be disclosed,
- Notify the person of the intention to disclose the information to an Authorised Signatory for the registered organisation concerned after the expiry of 14 days from the date of notification, and
- Allow the applicant the opportunity to make a written submission.
- There will also be an appeals process in respect of a decision to disclose the information.
The GCVU will not issue a vetting disclosure in respect of a person until this process has been completed.