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Do you think we should get rid of criminal records secrecy?

(34 Posts)
sandelf Sat 27-Oct-18 10:51:42

I think society would be more honest if all criminal court proceeding were available for anyone to view. At first there would be horror as MANY people would be outed as having convictions. (Me too) It would be uncomfortable. But in the long run more honest and less hypocritical.

Chewbacca Sat 27-Oct-18 11:35:49

But what if, at the end of those criminal court proceedings, the defendant was found not guilty sandelf? Their name, age, address and details of charges, would be in the public domain, whether they were found guilty or not. Your suggestion would turn "innocent until proven guilty" on its head! The current legislation protects those who are accused of a crime, but have been proven to be innocent, from the stigma of a criminal record. Anyone who does have a criminal record has that on their DBS file for up to 20 years and it is revealed to any prospective employer who carries out basic or enhanced CRB checks in their recruitment processing.

sandelf Sat 27-Oct-18 12:23:53

I do see what you mean - there would have to be very big changes in attitude - among them, understanding that a charge is not a conviction. I am sure there are very many figures in public life both national and local who would find themselves on a level with 'ordinary' people who have skeletons in the cupboard. I don't think really it could ever happen because we are hung up on the notion of people maintaining unrealistically good public personas. Just have the idea that it's not an honest way to go on.

M0nica Sat 27-Oct-18 21:39:22

No, they should not be public unless there is a clear need for public protection.

Far too many people are censorious and judgemental and the universal, in its full sense, change of attitude that would mean that everyone would smile benignly on youthful follies and help the reformed criminal make a new life will never happen.

Does a young man, who was involved in mindless vandalism at 18, want everyone knowing about and judging him when he is 50? The woman caught shop-lifting at 40, coping with grandchildren taunted at school because grandma is a thief?

There is nothing dishonest about this. Most of us sometime in our lives has done something non-criminal that we are deeply ashamed of. We learn from our mistake and put it behind us. Would you want everyone to know, that you were part of a gang of bullies at school, or stole money from your grandmother's purse?

Those who need to know will be told of criminal convictions when necessary. I am quite happy with that.

BlueBelle Sat 27-Oct-18 22:09:46

My goodness judging by the trail by fire on FB and Twitter it would be a nightmare I have just seen a photo on fb of three young 12/13 year old boys apparently committing some vandalism and someone has named them (completely wrong names apparently), and everyone is calling for them to be practically hung drawn and quartered, three young innocent boys could be harmed

homefarm Sun 28-Oct-18 11:40:06

The simple answer to this question has to be NO, for many reasons some already mentioned.

notgoneyet Sun 28-Oct-18 11:41:29

The one that I consider supremely unfair is that if a guy is accused of rape, the girl's name is kept secret, but the guy's name is splashed all over the papers. Fine if he's proved guilty, but can lead to ruination of career and life if he's innocent - there are still people who will think "no smoke without fire". Double standards there methinks.

sandelf Sun 28-Oct-18 11:46:10

Seems from the comments this is an 'honesty' too far.

winterwhite Sun 28-Oct-18 11:56:50

Not sure what is behind the OP. Where does honesty come into it?

Willow10 Sun 28-Oct-18 11:57:36

Absolutely not. I think a lot of decent people have skeletons in their cupboards that they are deeply ashamed of. Teenagers especially make silly mistakes that they regret as adults. Should one mistake haunt them for the rest of their life? And if they were convicted, presumably they have done their time or paid a fine. Serious convictions and repeat offenders are named and shamed anyway.

Lin1hope2vic3 Sun 28-Oct-18 12:26:47

So many are criminalised for minor drug offences. These records seem to be handed out like Smarties. Thousands of otherwise law-abiding people have records haunting them forever. Some times it's the law that is wrong, and the drug laws are unscientific and inhumane. I would rather ALL records for non-violent drug offences were destroyed rather than made open!

driverann Sun 28-Oct-18 12:28:06

All proceedings held in an open court are public. There are Court reports, in many local newspapers. However I take your point. Someone I know son-in-law took her 9 years old granddaughter for a ‘drive’ in his new car. After around an hour he returned with the child who he had brought a toy and sweets for during the drive. The following day the mother asked the child if she had enjoyed her ‘drive’. The child told her that the man had taken her nickers off and touched her. When it was reported to the police the police said he had history of offending with similar crimes. His wife and her family had know way of knowing or any suspicion. The wife had met him through Date-Line 8 years previous and married him two years later. Had she been able to check him out before marrying him it would have saved a lot of heart ache to all concerned.

Willow10 Sun 28-Oct-18 13:30:01

In that case I would have thought he would be on the sex offenders register.

grandtanteJE65 Sun 28-Oct-18 13:51:37

I agree with all those who say no to the original suggestion, but driverann's example did make me think.

Perhaps it should be made illegal not to disclose any offence you have been find or sent to prison for to your prospective spouse?

Here when applying for a marriage license you have to state whether you are suffering from any venereal disease and whether you have children by anyone other than the person you are intending to marry.

I know the law is not the same in all countries, but perhaps we should return to the days where a full disclosure of health, financial affairs and any criminal offences should be a preliminary to marriage or to moving in with someone?

MissAdventure Sun 28-Oct-18 13:53:53

I thought there was some kind of law that people can check out a partners background with regards to sex offences?

Grampie Sun 28-Oct-18 14:00:36

Criminal court proceedings are not "criminal records"

These proceedings used to appear in our local newspapers as a result of some rookie reporter's first assignment.

Now uncommon.

For the guilty we should focus on their contrition (or not) and our forgiveness (or not).

...also uncommon.

driverann Sun 28-Oct-18 14:27:01

Willow 10. He was on the sexual offences register. However no one told the family and he certainly did not volunteer any information about himself. In fact most of what he had told about himself turned out to be a pack of lies.

MissAdventure Sun 28-Oct-18 14:55:05

The law is called 'Sarah's law' and its for members of the public to ask for any information which may mean a person poses a risk to children.

GabriellaG Sun 28-Oct-18 22:18:44

No. Whoever thinks it a good thing hasn't thought it through.
There are some who are convicted but later exonerated. Mud sticks. The brainless sector of society ignore reason and baaa with the rest of the sheep.
I doubt whether there is anyone eho hasn't been accused of or received any of the following: a parking fine, caution, speeding ticket, DUI, GBH, AB, fraud, any fine, harassment, failure to pay any monies ordered by a court, assault, or any of the more serious crimes on our statute books.
If there ARE any people out there with totally clean sheets, they are probably boring, golf playing, Rover driving, repressed civil servants who blanch at the thought of eating a Sunday roast on a Friday.

MaryXYX Sun 28-Oct-18 22:21:41

"Anyone who does have a criminal record has that on their DBS file for up to 20 years"
I had a Conditional Discharge 40 years ago, and it's revealed every time I get a DBS check. It would also stop me getting a visa to most countries, because a serious offence could have had a serious penalty.

Chewbacca Sun 28-Oct-18 22:32:33

Parking fine? Nope.
Caution? Nope.
Speeding ticket? Nope.
DUI? Definitely not.
GBH? You're 'aving a larf!
AB? Nope.
Fraud? Nope.
GBH? Now you're being silly!
Any fine? Nope.
Harassment? Nope.
failure to pay any monies ordered by a court? If you knew my profession, you'd know how funny that is! grin
Assault? Nope.
Or any of the more serious crimes on our statute books? Nope, no murders, rapes on my unblemised record thus far.
Golf playing? Nope.
Rover driving? Seeing as they've been out if production for 20 years or more, it's unlikely.
Repressed civil servant? Again, if you knew my profession, you'd know how funny that is! grin
Eating a Sunday roast on a Friday? Damn! You've got me! gringringrin

Chewbacca Sun 28-Oct-18 22:36:50

Sorry to hear that MaryXYX, i do think that there should be a finite time that these things show up on DBS records, especially for minor misdemeanours and Conditional Discharges. Is there any way that it can be expunged from your file?

MissAdventure Sun 28-Oct-18 22:45:04

I thought some things were 'spent' after some time?
Not that I'd know, because any misdemeanours I've committed haven't been found out. blush yet!

dogsmother Sun 28-Oct-18 23:00:17

You should try living in the community I do!
There is nowhere to hide, if you committed a misdemeanor when you were 18... nobody forgets and when you are 50+ it will still be brought up!
I personally think it’s not a problem, f you you’ve paid the price for your crime and can still be accepted it means people can judge for themselves.
No, not me I’ve not been in any trouble however people around certainly do know my business ?

MissAdventure Sun 28-Oct-18 23:02:18

You must come from my neck of the woods! smile