by Linda Straker
- More offenders applying to Rehabilitation Offenders Board to have criminal records expunged
- Not all offences can be removed from the records
Attorney General Sir Lawrence Joseph has confirmed that more offenders who have served their sentences are applying to the Rehabilitation Offenders Board to have their criminal records expunged from the books in accordance the 2017 Offenders Rehabilitation legislation.
The 5-member board which is chaired by Dr Joseph has met 3 times since it was launched in June 2018. He disclosed that during the first sitting there were only 5 applications, but by its August sitting there were more. “To date, all together we have had 18 applications with 14 of them getting approved, 3 are being denied and 1 pending, because we need to do some more investigations into that person,” he said.
All offences were committed more than 5 years ago and it includes offences such as marijuana cigarette possession and using obscene language.
Joseph said a person who committed an offence within the “forgotten categories” as a juvenile and has fully completed what was required of them in law should apply to have the records expunged. None of the applications to date has come from offenders who committed the offence while a juvenile.
Not all offences can be removed from the records because of the impact it had and can have on society. Matters which are excluded from the rehabilitation process are murder, voluntary manslaughter, robbery with violence, arson and any indictable offence carrying a penalty including imprisonment for a term of 15 years or more of imprisonment.
It will also not be offered to convictions where the following sentences have been imposed: a sentence of imprisonment for life and a sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding 5 years.
Persons wishing to have criminal records expunged must first pay an application fee of EC$50 to the Treasury, complete the application form which can be obtained from the Ministry of Legal Affairs and then drop it off to the board which is located at the legal affairs ministry.
The board meets monthly and once there is an approval, the applicant is notified in writing.