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  • Spent Convictions in Northern Territory (NT)

    Most people don't know this, but when you apply for a police check in the NT, not all offences (with conviction) will show in the results. Some offences for legal reasons are expunged from an individual's national police record check results. However, the person must satisfy certain conditions, and in some cases apply to the court to have the offence removed

    The convictions that are removed from an individual's police check result are "Spent convictions".

    When applying for a police check in the NT, these convictions no longer come up in their criminal record check, and under some circumstances may never be disclosed in future.

    What are the benefits of having your offence spent?

    If you are wondering if it is “worth it” for convictions to be spent, then you should see this;

    • Right to no-disclosure
    • When you have a conviction record removed from your police check, you are under no obligation to disclose it. If an employer refers to such an offence, you are not obligated to confirm or deny it.

      Also, it is unlawful for any other agency to disclose the result of that conviction. Spent offences are only disclosed under a strict court order or official pronouncements.

    • Does not factor in your assessment
    • Your spent offences will not factor in any assessments from employers, agencies or even institutions, except where it is detrimental not to reveal such details.

      It is also unlawful for an employer to assess the applicants on offences outside those in the police criminal check certificates.

    • Turn a new leaf
    • The Spent convictions scheme is a benevolent scheme of the Crimes Act of 1914. As a Criminal record is usually for life, this scheme clears “minor offences” of the individual. It will be unfair to deny a person great opportunities and benefits because of “less serious” offences.

    Are my offences eligible to be spent?

    There is no individual that is exclusive to the spent convictions scheme. Satisfying any or all of these conditions can make your offences spent automatically.

    Offences can become Spent if they pass the "Crime-free" period in this State. This period is the same as the waiting period;

    • 10 years for conviction in adult court
    • 5 years for convictions by a juvenile court (Youth justice)

    But,

    • The “Crime–free” period restarts if the individual is convicted of another offence within the period.
    • All convictions that attract more than 6 months of sentencing are exempt from the Rehabilitation offender's scheme.
    • Once the crime-free period is complete, the “Spent conviction” qualifies for the no-disclosure benefits.

    What is the crime-free period?

    The crime-free period commences immediately after the applicant gets their conviction. However, if a sentencing term is imposed, the crime-free period commences at the end. The individual must not get another conviction within the crime-free period unless the period restarts.

    It does not matter if the subsequent convictions are for offences related to the current conviction or not.

    Can my spent convictions be disclosed in the NT?

    It is uncommon to disclose the results of a Police Check without the person's permission. However, some "purposes" may require the full details of your criminal history, including the spent convictions.

    In some circumstances and depending on the purpose of the criminal history check, old convictions will still show up on a police check where it is deemed suitable or required by the law (e.g. police checks for aged care work).

    When this happens;

      ✔ It is "imperative" the authority needs the Spent convictions to assess the person.

      ✔ The candidate is not relieved from his responsibility to disclose it.

    In addition, when applying to any of the following roles, you must provide the results of a police character check;

    What are the categories of Spent convictions?

    Not all offences can qualify to be "spent" under the Spent convictions scheme of the NT. In general, the offences that are eligible to be spent are;

      ✔ Where the conviction ought to be spent

      ✔ The individual is granted pardon for wrongful conviction

      ✔ The convictions are quashed by a new legislation

    What offences cannot qualify for the Spent convictions?

    Although the Spent offences Scheme prevents individuals from suffering perpetually from a conviction record, certain offences will never become spent.

    These offences are either too serious or have a possible chance of recurring (the individual shows no evidence of avoiding such offence in future)

    • Convictions for sexually related offences
    • Convictions against corporate entities
    • Convictions where an intensive supervision order is imposed
    • Convictions where a lengthy imprisonment term is given; It doesn’t matter if it is to be served immediately or suspended term

    What a Spent conviction does not do

    While all spent convictions are removed from the applicant’s police background check result, they will not affect any punishments or conditions attached to the court order. It means the offender must still satisfy any fines or punishment like;

    • Paying court fines or costs or compensation orders
    • Adhering to a community-based order
    • Having a driver license withdrawn or suspended
    • Entering the reported offender list (having a parole officer, and so on)

    Should I apply for my offences to get spent in NT?

    When you apply for an updated criminal history check, the police (issuing authority) remove all convictions that qualify for the Spent convictions scheme per State law. These offences should not show in all future criminal history check results.

    However, if you feel any of your offences qualify for the Spent conviction scheme, or evidence relating to the conviction changes, you should apply to the District/Magistrate court in the NT.

    Will convictions ordered under other State laws be spent in NT?

    The NT Spent convictions scheme does not cover for convictions given in other States/Territories. However, they will employ the Spent conviction scheme in the related state to the person’s Police/Criminal records.

    Also, you can have your commonwealth convictions Spent in NT if you meet the criteria listed.

    Wrapping Up

    Having your convictions “Spent” can do a lot of good to your future. Some convictions on your criminal record affect your chances of getting a paid role, volunteer, or even license. However, when these offences become Spent, it gives you a “fresh start”

    Candidates can apply via Australian National Character Check to get an updated police check result

    Sources

    Commonwealth of Australia (Cth) - Section 85ZV of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) - http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca191482/s85zv.html

    Northern Territory (NT) - Criminal Records Spent Convictions Act 1992 - https://legislation.nt.gov.au/en/Legislation/CRIMINAL-RECORDS-SPENT-CONVICTIONS-ACT-1992

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