New law removes old convictions

| 15/09/2016 | 44 Comments

(CNS): The arrival of the Criminal Records (Spent Convictions) Bill, 2016 will be a welcome move for many people in Cayman who have found it difficult to find work, get loans or travel overseas because of old or minor convictions that are blighting their record and preventing them from getting a clean police clearance. The new legislation repeals the old rehabilitation of offenders law and improves the regime under which former offenders are dealt with. It introduces a mechanism for clearing criminal records that is more in line with contemporary international standards, officials said.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who is the home affairs minister, said it would improve the job prospects of locals.

“This new regime will positively impact the prospects of Caymanians who have served their time for offences and have demonstrated their individual ability to live productive lives,” Alden McLaughlin stated after the law was gazetted for consultation ahead of the Legislative Assembly debate next month. “It will enhance the employment prospects of ex-offenders. It will assist in removing travel restrictions as well as help to reduce the barriers to successful reintegration into the community.”

He added, “I am pleased that we are able to bring this forward as it was one of the goals of this government.”

The law, which is said to have cross-party support and was one of the goals of the this government when it came to office, has been framed to reflect best practices and consideration to the economic and social conditions in the Cayman Islands, officials said, but it also considers the need to ensure public safety and protection. Government said the proposed new framework is balanced and meets the needs of the country as a whole.

The bill implements a scheme to limit the effect of a person’s conviction for a range of offences if the person completes a period of crime-free behaviour. After that, the conviction is regarded as spent and, subject to some exceptions, the former offender can apply for the expungement of that criminal record.

While other pieces of related legislation dealing with the criminal justice system have been updated over the years, the provisions in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Law were inadequate. There are concerns that a significant number of Caymanians living crime-free lives for a decade or more are still not able to get a clean record, which has created barriers for them and their families.

Section 14 of the law is likely to be key to clean records for many as it deals with people convicted of consumption and possession of ganja and pipes where there are no aggravating factors, such as trafficking or supply. They will be able to apply to the new expungement board to wipe their record clean once the law is passed.

The law generally deals with minor offences. Serious crimes, such as murder, manslaughter, firearms convictions, terrorism, trafficking, sex crimes, offences against children and crimes where the offenders served five or more years, will not be expunged. A list of offences that can be expunged and after how long are set out in the law in schedule 3 of the law.

While the law will provide a way to clean up people’s records, there are some professions, such as attorneys, where people will still need to declare the spent convictions.

See the bill on the CNS Library

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Category: Crime, Laws, Politics

Comments (44)

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  1. Mr Slugnutz says:

    Um so um…question i fall into that over 5 year cat. Right. So its been from 2004 its now 2016. I have not been in trouble nor been a local target or sinister to society. Ive been in a canadian maximum prison because i was poorly notified but lets not go into much detail with that f#ckery and excuse my kmanian patois! I spent 4 months labeled as a flight Risk jus because of my record with great intentions of trying to be there for the birth of my son. But because of my 12 year old comviction i was stript from that luxury!! I am pissed i must add telling from this message but yeah.. Do i have a chance to have my trash taken out clean from my record?? Its gonna cost me a bunch of money to get a rehability blah blah to be over there.. my backside suppose to be in canada not where i call home(cayman). I been wanting to get off this rock for years now and i cant. Someone please let me know!!

  2. Annie says:

    Times are tough when you have to cultivate the criminal vote.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is big vote when the electorate is so tiny and the number of seats up for election is so high. 19 little rotten boroughs….

    • Under than mango tree says:

      I believe people deserve a second chance. We all evolve and grow up at some point. Many people want to get married, have a family, further their education and have a sustainable career . Why don’t allow them to do so? It is the Christian thing to do. To forgive and allow people to rectify their mistakes and give back to the communities that they come from?

      I know a few people who were a “hot mess” growing up, but they got their act together and have careers now. Luckily, they had connections to help put their past behind them and land them a good job. Not everyone knows their little secrets. Some people don’t have the same support or connections, but they too want a second chance to prove themselves and we should do what it takes to help them succeed.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Does the Cayman Islands Government truly believe that a Law that is designed and intended to defeat the legitimate border protection mechanisms of the United States of America is going to have a happy ending? Boy, that is arrogant, and dangerous.

  4. Anonymous says:

    An enterprising person might FOIA the names and sentences of all the convicts and their sentences over the past 20 years to date and then keep a running tally going forward. Put it on a Miami website database and sell viewing rights to interested persons. In the US you can expunge to your little hearts content, but the info does not really go away. There is no right to be forgotten there, you just have to live with your misdeeds.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I mean really. How many Canadians, Brits, Irish, Americans etc. are here on permits that have a little skeleton in their closet. Caught smoking a little weed as a teenager, shoplifted a chocolate bar, tried to buy alcohol underage etc. etc. Were not talking career criminals here.
    As for the joker talking about contacting the US embassy, who cares. go ahead. I just use my UK passport instead as I don’t need a stupid visa.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ummm, the misdeeds of any foreign national seeking to come to Cayman heave to be disclosed to our immigration authorities. UK police clearance certificates issued for the purposes of immigration disclose not only convictions but also arrests and charges.

      Applicants have to give full disclosure. It is up to immigration to decide whether the misdeeds are sufficiently serious to warrant the denial of the permission sought.

    • Anonymous says:

      The ACRO police certificate Immigration require for UK workers permits does indicate any “spent”convictions if it says No Live Trace and these records are now kept for life/100 years. So If a Brit committed a crime in college as a youth there’s no escaping it even decades later.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Could the government please confirm that CIMA is happy with persons convicted of money laundering in other countries being able to come and operate companies here after a few years, and that the USA has no problem with us hiding the truth from them in relation to visa applicants? I assume the government has checked? Right? I mean, before we all lose the right to travel to the USA.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, who can remember their convictions after a couple of years when they are filling in long and complex forms?

      • Anonymous says:

        Isn’t a blip like the odd criminal conviction not one of the reasons people have to look for work in places like the Caymans in the first place?

  7. Anonymous says:

    For the record after a set amount of years by the law of America and other Countries, criminal records are removed for their citizens, so that people will not be a burden to the countries.
    When people cannot get jobs because of these things, this sometimes allow them to commit crimes to survive or be a burden on the Government.
    Some people that are the worst and have commit crimes , but! Because no one knows or they have never been caught have the most to say.
    Who are you that you will not forgive people and God forgive people and he is the giver of life, and you can’t give life so why you trying to stop it.
    Every Country looks out for their people.
    Caymanians are my people but they go on like they are perfect and they don’t do no wrong.
    I suggest you thank God all day long if you or one of your love ones have escape a crime free life and never been charge for a crime yet.
    Be Positive , let people live.
    People change and need to be giving a chance to prove their selves.

    • Anonymous says:

      Explain that to US Immigration (otherwise known as Homeland Security) when you, as a foreign national, try to get into their country. It is their country, their rules, and they are perfectly within their rights to demand (as they do) the full criminal background of anyone seeking permission to enter their shores.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Do you know that America and many other countries after a set period of years and then give their people a clean record. When a crime is committed at a young age they are conseal because they give them a chance, don’t older people need a second chance. I am sure that all of you that have wrote negative comments have done something wrong in life, but until you’re caught you will run your mouths. God forgive others, who are you that can’t give life , decides that people be forgiven. A lot of Caymanians go on like they are perfect and Cayman is the only place on earth that is different. I am a Caymanian. Grow up and let others live their life. Be postive.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Your not a thief until you get caught.your not a drink driver until you get caught and your not a rapist until you get caught…once they reduced the countless unsolved crimes then we can start clearing these records. until then, if a crime is unsolved, a person with a similar history must be somewhat a suspect. think about it Cayman….

  10. Anonymous says:

    I have an old convict living next door. Can get him expunged?

  11. Anonymous says:

    So now there will be even less protections to prevent foreign criminals from coming to live amongst us and it will be defamatory to call a convicted criminal a criminal if they have not been a criminal for 5 years? This is totally mornonic. Will a newspaper be liable because a 7 year old article confirming a conviction is still on a website?

    The constant lowering of standards in this community is disgusting.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes but the criminal vote is significant given the tiny number of eligible voters.

    • Diogenes says:

      First, this has no impact on people coming to live amongst us – it applies to crimes committed here, and it only affects Caymanians as expats already here who commit crimes either get deported at the end of sentence or don’t get their work permits renewed without a clean check – and the WP has to be renewed before the record has time to expunge. Secondly, there is nothing in the article about it being defamatory – where did you get that?

      • Anonymous says:

        I read the Bill, and suggest you do too. It applies equally to foreign nationals who seek to come to Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are mistaken, but in any event why is a work permit holder given the chance to remain long enough for their work permit to be renewed in your example? If we followed our laws it should be revoked immediately on conviction and the former holder deported immediately following their sentence.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Pandering to the criminal vote ahead of the election. Of course the empirical data now suggests that such laws do not assist employment and that full disclosure allows for better outcomes for the employer and employee communities.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I will make sure the US Embassy is wide awake to these changes and encourage visa restrictions for those traveling to the US as for anywhere else they travel I don’t care

    • Anonymous says:

      The USA have no time for haters like you go right ahead tell them. The USA have been allowing Caymanians to travel there without a visa from the 1950s and Caymanians were such lawabiding people that I can put my head on a chopping block that less than 50 born and bred Caymanians have been deported from the USA from the 1950s to today 16 September 2016. Caymanians have a track record of being law abiding citizens even the bad ones at home behave themselves when they go to other people country. Can I say the same thing about you poster 9:14 pm 15/9/16?

  14. Anonymous says:

    So, when the United States Government asks a Caymanian applicant for a visa “have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense?” the Cayman government is going to help an applicant to lie. Once the USA realizes that our police clearance certificates are not worth the paper they are written on, exactly how long does the Cayman Government think it is going to be before all Caymanians start having extra scrutiny applied to their attempts to travel to the US. Bye bye visa waiver program!

    • Anonymous says:

      Poster 6:35 pm you are so full of it and as your kind would say “spiteful”. Not all long time criminal records will be expunged. Know your facts before you write. I am almost certain that those Caymanians who got records for a ganja spliff back in the 1970 – 1999 and those that were charged with misdemeanor are who this relates to. The US immigration knows that “Caymanians” throughout their long association of travel to the USA with a visa for the most part have been law abiding. Yes there are Caymanians that have messed up at home but when we go to overseas we leave our bad behavior at home (wish others would do the same when they come here). I was curious to see just how many Caymanians were on the USDOJ website for criminal activities and to my surprise when I searched Cayman Island or Caymanian all I could find was two Cayman registered companies and no individuals. Not the same for other countries and nationalities. Cayman is the last place on earth that the USA is concerned about when it come to our citizens coming there on visas or waivers to commit crimes against their country and its populace.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Lowering the bar so nobody gets left behind…great news for the many criminal Caymanians and new and past political hopefuls! The parties have each got to field “clean” candidates in 19 districts now…what better way to recruit than with a Cabinet-backed three person Expungement Board! Wipin’ it clean like it never happened!

  16. Anonymous says:

    just before election how convenient . Will this really make any difference ? I don’t think so.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:45. You need prayer. Do we really believe the government sat on this bill for 3 years just to roll it out now. Engage brain please.

      I have to admit the government continues to make achievements that are simply history making.

      I was once a negative poster. Not anymore and boy it feels really good to give credit and to congratulate. Come on negative posters try it. You might actually like it. Living in a world of gloom when we actually live in paradise is stupid.

      • Anonymous says:

        You need to see a psychologist. Optimism and exaggerated exuberance is most common in insane asylums.

      • Anonymous says:

        I do live in paradise, but if this crap does not stop it will all be gone, very soon!

        You see the article today? The woman who stole jewelry from a jewelry store got 6 months. If you owned a jewelry store, would you be happy being forced to employ her in 5 years?

        If you were the US Government, how would you react to the Cayman Islands Government confirming in writing that she has “never been convicted of a criminal offence” in 5 years time?

        • Anonymous says:

          No one is forcing you to do anything and every country in the world has a law like this including yours.

          • Anonymous says:

            Cayman is my country. It presently has no such laws. Please name a country whose laws provide that you can lie to another friendly country when, as part of its legitimate border controls and court processes the question is asked: Have you ever been arrested, charged and or convicted of. Criminal offense at any time and in any place?

            Please note that invariably providing anything less than full disclosure is a crime under that countries laws.

            This debate has nothing to do with employment (in relation to which for sound and legitimate domestic purposes, a clearing of any record is entirely legitimate and proportionate.

  17. Anonymous says:

    What kind of minor offenses? Burglary? That’s not minor. I’ve lost thousands to burglars/thieves and they’ll do it again and again.

    • Jonas Dwyer says:

      What the CIG fails to understand that even with this removal it is not sufficient to get employment up Until Caymanians umseratamsbthw over they have on their hands to effect positive and unwuiboval change unemployment will continue to be just bar room and back dope poliyrixka

      • Anonymous says:

        CNS I thought you read the comments before posting them. We are trying to figure out what keys he was aiming at but having little ayxxwaa.

      • Anonymous says:

        Bad spelling also makes employment difficult

      • Jonas Dwyer says:

        What the CIG fails to understand that even with this removal it is not sufficient to get employment up Until Caymanians understand the power they have on their hands to effect positive and unequivocal change unemployment will continue to be just bar room and back door politricking talk.

        Apologies for the typo was running late for a meeting.

    • Anonymous says:

      Everything are to help the bad people, nothing to help the good people.

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