Grenada has taken a major step forward in erasing the criminal record of persons committing minor offences in the country.
A five-member Rehabilitation of Offenders Board has been set up under the Chairmanship of Attorney General, Sir Lawrence Joseph to facilitate the process since the Parliament passed the Bill on November 1, 2017.
The board is also made up of representatives from the Criminal Records Office (CRO) of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), the Prime Minister’s Ministry, Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Sir Lawrence told reporters at a press conference at the Ministerial Complex that the board was set up to receive applications from convicted persons who are desirous of having some of their offences declared to be spent and expunged from the records of RGPF.
He said that certain conditions must be adhered to in order to enable the process to take place since the act excludes some criminal offences for consideration.
According to Sir Lawrence, among the persons who will not be considered are those with convictions for murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, robbery with violence, arson, any indictable offence carrying a penalty including imprisonment for a term of 15 years, a sentence of imprisonment for life, as well as a term exceeding five years.
The Attorney-General explained that under the act the period of the rehabilitation for an offender whose sentence has been spent varies depending on whether they are an adult or a juvenile.
He said: “A fine or other non-custodial sentence subject to rehabilitation under this act, the period of rehabilitation of adults is four years and for juveniles two years. For a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, the period for rehabilitation for an adult is six years and period of rehabilitation for a child is three years. A sentence of imprisonment for the term of six months or more but not exceeding five years, an adult will have to remain rehabilitated for 10 years and for a child its five years”.
The government’s principal legal advisor pointed out that the act seeks to expunge the records of youngsters with minor infractions of the laws.
“There are several people, who are in their youth especially, committing minor offences – for example, obscene language or you might smoke a ‘spliff’ and with these offences, even though you have been sentenced for a month in jail or two months in jail, these offences remain on the records and if someone wants to get a visa to go the United States of America or they want to pursue some scholarship to go to England or some other country, these records inhibit them from obtaining their necessary desire…”, he said.
“…As a consequence, this act now comes into play…they do not have to put those offences which were expunged from the record on the application. If they have been convicted for some offences, those records cannot come before the court as previous offences”, he added.
Interested persons can begin to take advantage of the initiative by paying $50 for the application forms at the Ministry of Legal Affairs on H.A. Blaize Street, district revenue offices around the island, and all police stations.