The importance of appropriate spent conviction legislation was again highlighted today (The Irish Times, 'Candidate for police commissioner withdraws over teenage conviction', 9/8/12), as a candidate for a police commissioner in England withdrew from the process due to a criminal conviction he obtained when he was thirteen. Forty-six years ago, Bob Ashford was convicted for trespassing on a railway line and ownership of an air gun. Current legislation in relation to the election of police commissioners in England prohibits consideration for anyone who has received, or could have received a custodial sanction, even if they didn't serve that time in prison.
Legislation in relation to spent convictions in Ireland was passed this year (Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012). A number of shortcomings remain, including overly punitive approaches to some excluded sentences, the number of convictions and conviction free periods.