On 30th January 2013, the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012 returned to the Seanad at Committee Stage. A number of amendments were tabled by Senators, some of whom pushed strongly for wider application of the legislation, including Sen. Jillian van Turnhout, Sen. David Cullinane, and Sen. Denis O'Donovan.
Responding, Minister Lynch (standing in for the Minister for Justice) stated that the Government is not prepared to go further than the max. 12-month custodial sentence.
Amendments to the legislation which were accepted include:
- Suspended sentences of up to 24 months (which are not subsequently revoked) are now covered by the legislation.
- Multiple convictions for one incident shall be treated as one conviction for the purposes of the legislation.
- Rehabilitative periods are now reduced to 2/3/4/5 years, depending on the size of fine, sentence length, etc.
- Sections relating to work with children/vulnerable adults are now linked with the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012.
IPRT welcomes these amendments to the Bill. However, we believe that the legislation should be strengthened further, as detailed in our submission (available below).
The Bill returns to the Seanad at Report stage on Tuesday 5th Feb, 2013.