Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1974 c. 53


Rehabilitation of OffendersAct 1974

1974 CHAPTER 53

An Act to rehabilitate offenders who have not been reconvicted of any serious offence for periods of years, to penalise the unauthorised disclosure of their previous convictions, to amend the law of defamation, and for purposes connected therewith.

[31st July 1974]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Rehabilitated persons and spent convictions.

1 Rehabilitated persons and spent convictions.

(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, where an individual has been convicted, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, of any offence or offences, and the following conditions are satisfied, that is to say—

(a ) he did not have imposed on him in respect of that conviction a sentence which is excluded from rehabilitation under this Act; and

(b ) he has not had imposed on him in respect of a subsequent conviction during the rehabilitation period applicable to the first-mentioned conviction in accordance with section 6 below a sentence which is excluded from rehabilitation under this Act;

then, after the end of the rehabilitation period so applicable (including, where appropriate, any extension under section 6(4) below of the period originally applicable to the first-mentioned conviction) or, where that rehabilitation period ended before the commencement of this Act, after the commencement of this Act, that individual shall for the purposes of this Act be treated as a rehabilitated person in respect of the first-mentioned conviction and that conviction shall for those purposes be treated as spent.

(2) A person shall not become a rehabilitated person for the purposes of this Act in respect of a conviction unless he has served or otherwise undergone or complied with any sentence imposed on him in respect of that conviction; but the following shall not, by virtue of this subsection, prevent a person from becoming a rehabilitated person for those purposes—

(a ) failure to pay a fine or other sum adjudged to be paid by or imposed on a conviction, or breach of a condition of a recognizance or of a bond of caution to keep the peace or be of good behaviour;

(b ) breach of any condition or requirement applicable in relation to a sentence which renders the person to whom it applies liable to be dealt with for the offence for which the sentence was imposed, or, where the sentence was a suspended sentence of imprisonment, liable to be dealt with in respect of that sentence (whether or not, in any case, he is in fact so dealt with);

(c ) failure to comply with any requirement of a suspended sentence supervision order.

(3) In this Act ‘sentence’ includes any order made by a court in dealing with a person in respect of his conviction of any offence or offences, other than—

(a ) an order for committal or any other order made in default of payment of any fine or other sum adjudged to be paid by or imposed on a conviction, or for want of sufficient distress to satisfy any such fine or other sum;

(b ) an order dealing with a person in respect of a suspended sentence of imprisonment.

(4) In this Act, references to a conviction, however expressed, include references—

(a ) to a conviction by or before a court outside Great Britain; and

(b ) to any finding (other than a finding linked with a finding of insanity) in any criminal proceedings or in care proceedings under section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 that a person has committed an offence or done the act or made the omission charged;

and notwithstanding anything in section 9 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1949 or section 13 of the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973 (conviction of a person put on probation or discharged to be deemed not to be a conviction) a conviction in respect of which an order is made placing the person convicted on probation or discharging him absolutely or conditionally shall be treated as a conviction for the purposes of this Act and the person in question may become a rehabilitated person in respect of that conviction and the conviction a spent conviction for those purposes accordingly.

S-2 Rehabilitation of persons dealt with in service disciplinary proceedings.

2 Rehabilitation of persons dealt with in service disciplinary proceedings.

(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, for the purposes of this Act any finding that a person is guilty of an offence in respect of any act or omission which was the subject of service disciplinary proceedings shall be treated as a conviction and any punishment awarded in respect of any such finding shall be treated as a sentence.

(2) Subsection (1) above applies only where either or both of the following conditions is satisfied, that is to say—

(a ) the offence in question is an offence to which this subsection applies; or

(b ) the punishment awarded is a punishment to which this subsection applies.

(3) Subsection (2) above applies to any offence consisting in the commission of a civil offence and to any offence under, and any offence of attempting to commit an offence under, any of the following enactments, or any corresponding enactment previously in force—

(a ) sections 30, 45, 46, 61, 62, 64 and 66 of the Army Act 1955 and the Air Force Act 1955 ; and

(b ) sections 5, 30, 31, 34A, 35, 36 and 37 of the Naval Discipline Act 1957 .

(4) Subsection (2) above applies to the following punishments—

(a ) imprisonment;

(b ) cashiering, discharge with ignominy or dismissal with disgrace from Her Majesty's service;

(c ) dismissal from Her Majesty's service; and

(d ) detention for a term of three months or more.

(5) In this Act, ‘service disciplinary proceedings’ means any of the following—

(a ) any proceedings under the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955, or the Naval Discipline Act 1957 whether before a court-martial or before any other court or person authorised thereunder to award a punishment in respect of any offence);

(b ) any proceedings under any Act previously in force corresponding to any of the Acts mentioned in paragraph (a ) above;

(c ) any proceedings under any corresponding enactment or law applying to a force, other than a home force, to which section 4 of the Visiting Forces (British Commonwealth) Act 1933 applies or applied at the time of the proceedings, being proceedings in respect of a member of a home force who is or was at that time attached to the first-mentioned force under that section;

whether in any event those proceedings take place in Great Britain or elsewhere.

S-3 Special provision with respect to certain disposals by children's hearings under the Social Work \(Scotland) Act 1968.

3 Special provision with respect to certain disposals by children's hearings under the Social Work \(Scotland) Act 1968.

3. Where a ground for the referral of a child's case to a children's hearing under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968is that mentioned in section 32(2)(g ) of that Act (commission by the child of an offence) and that ground has either been accepted by the child and, where necessary, by his parent or been established to the satisfaction of the sheriff under section 42 of that Act, the acceptance or establishment of that ground shall be treated for the purposes of this Act (but not otherwise) as a conviction, and any disposal of the ease thereafter by a children's hearing shall be treated for those purposes as a sentence; and references in this Act to a person's being charged with or prosecuted for an offence shall be construed accordingly.

S-4 Effect of rehabilitation.

4 Effect of rehabilitation.

(1) Subject to sections 7 and 8 below, a person who has become a rehabilitated person for the purposes of this Act in respect of a conviction shall be treated for all purposes in law as a person who has not committed or been charged with or prosecuted...

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