Public Defender changes position on criminal record of convicts recommendation
Public Defender Arlene Harrison-Henry has reversed a position advocated by her predecessor that murders be included on the list of offences that can be expunged from the criminal record of convicts.
Harrison-Henry, who took over in January, says the proposal was among several recommendations made by the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) under the leadership of former acting Public Defender Motundo Mukulu.
In its 2014 annual report to the Parliament, the OPD recommended that murder should be one of the offences that could be expunged after a minimum of 15 years rehabilitation has passed.
The proposal came after Parliament enacted changes to the Criminal Records Rehabilitation of Offenders Act to, among other things, reduce the length of time convicted offenders had to wait before certain offences could be expunged from their records.
However, Harrison-Henry says in January the OPD reviewed the recommendation and has now formed the view that expungements for murders and some other offences should not be allowed.
Justice Minister Mark Golding has already shot down the proposal, saying it was not a decision likely to find favour with the government given the serious nature of the crime.