Give ex-convicts the right to appeal records expunged, says acting Public Defender
Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
The Office of the Public Defender is proposing that the right of ex-convicts to appeal to have their records expunged, be enshrined in law.
Currently, convicts appeal to a Criminal Records Board appointed by the Justice Minister.
However, acting Public Defender Matondo Mukulu says the current system is exposed to bias and enshrining it in law would eliminate this.
He says in some Commonwealth jurisdictions, there are independent bodies established to consider clearing a convict’s criminal record.
The acting Public Defender is also proposing the creation of a 15-year review period for offences that would not usually attract consideration for expungement.
He is hoping that the Parliament consider his proposals for the Criminal Record (Rehabilitation of Offenders) (Amendment) Act.
The Parliament is currently amending the Criminal Record Act to expunge the records of persons convicted for the possession of small amounts of ganja.
However, it bars persons convicted of crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking, treason, murder, certain sexual and gun-related offences from having their records expunged.
The acting Public Defender says his office has an obligation to contribute to law-making to ensure that laws which are passed, achieve balance between protecting humans rights and those of the public.
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