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Lifting life long burden of spent convictions welcome

Lifting life long burden of spent convictions welcome

By LIV Media


Legislation to remove the stigma of having to disclose minor convictions will lift a life-long burden for many people, according to the Law Institute of Victoria.

LIV President Sam Pandya said the legal profession had long campaigned with other legal organisations so that people who had committed minor offences could get on with their lives once rehabilitated.

“If a person has been of good character and not reoffended for a period of up to 10 years and up to 5 years for a juvenile conviction, it is only fair that they should be able to get on with life without having to disclose old offences every time they apply for a job or volunteer role,” Mr Pandya said.,” he said.

Mr Pandya said the Spent Convictions Bill 2020 introduced into State Parliament was a welcome reform which brings Victoria into line with other States.

With the growth of criminal history checks, those with minor convictions on their records are subjected to discrimination that job seekers in other states are not subject to.

Mr Pandya said the current policy leaves young and Indigenous Victorians particularly subject to discrimination limiting their opportunities to be part of the community.

“These groups are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. They are appearing for often minor offences such as possession of cannabis, shoplifting, or using a concession Myki card without a concession card, which is considered to be fraud.”

Mr Pandya said the LIV was pleased that a number of recommendations from its 2015 submission to then Attorney-General Martin Pakula have been supported, including the findings of guilt without conviction and less serious and irrelevant convictions be removed from a person’s criminal record after a period of up to 10 years. The LIV also addressed the Parliamentary Inquiry into the proposed bill last year, chaired by Reason Party’s Fiona Patten.

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