06/05/2021

Human Rights Commission Challenges Law On Offenders Rehabilitation In NI

The Human Rights Commission is challenging the current law on the rehabilitation of offenders in Northern Ireland.

The current law prevents any convictions of more than 30 months in prison from ever becoming spent. The full hearing will be heard remotely at 10.30am on 6 May in the Judicial Review Court, Belfast.
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Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Les Allamby stated: "The Human Rights Commission is supporting the applicant at Court today. Currently the law in Northern Ireland means that any conviction of over two and a half years in prison must always be disclosed, no matter what the circumstances and however long ago the offence was committed. There is also no review mechanism for past offenders. In this case, the applicant has not committed any criminal offence for 40 years yet continues to have to disclose a criminal record undermining the right to privacy. As a result, the applicant struggled to find work, obtain insurance and faced barriers that made living a normal, law abiding life more difficult.

"We recognise that in specific instances the lifetime disclosure of an offence is necessary in particular circumstances. However, we believe the current law is disproportionate and incompatible with the Right to Private and Family Life) under the European Convention on Human Rights. This case has been a catalyst for the first look at this specific issue since the law was introduced 43 years ago."

NIACRO and UNLOCK are supporting the Human Rights Commissions case.

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