Still ‘early days’ for spent convictions legislation

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

It is right to review legislation that allows for some minor offences to become spent after seven years, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said.

On its implementation last April, the Department of Justice said around 85 per cent of convictions will become spent after seven years as a result of the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016.

Ms Fitzgerald was asked to outline her plans for review of the legislation in the Dáil earlier this week.

She said: “The Act was commenced in full on 29 April 2016 and it would be sensible to review it after a reasonable period, as Deputies have approached me about other changes they would like to see.

“The Act will be liable for post-enactment scrutiny at the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality. That is something which can be done under the new Dáil procedures. I welcome such an approach.

“It is early days for the legislation but it is important for the committee to examine it when it is in a position to do so. I always take the recommendations from the committee very seriously and I am happy to look at it if it is on the programme of work.”

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