The Sex Offenders Act is part of our law for over 10 years and it’s principal requirements are that convicted persons are continually monitored by the Garda principally as to where they reside and if they intend leaving the State for any period of time over 7 days the registered person must notify the Gardai.
Generally one particular Garda, is assigned in any station to monitor the enforcement of the Act and the whereabouts of the registered person and the Gardai will make regular checks to see that the registered person is complying. Criminal sanctions are there to ensure enforcement and compliance with the legislation.
Public policy and criminal justice risk make the legislation necessary. Its is possible for person who has been registered indefinitely to apply to be removed from the register on the ground that the interests of the common good are no longer served by his or her continuing to be registered. That legal test has yet to be examined in detail by the Superior Courts here, but test is based on the common good and is not centred on the registered persons belief or wish to be moved from the requirements of the register. These are difficult applications which are heard in camera in Court.
An important consideration is that a registered person can show that there is no risk of re offending and that rehabilitation is evident. Rehabilitation is an important principal within the criminal justice system and where demonstrable evidence is present the interest of common good are best served by discharge or removal from the register.
Peter Connolly Solicitors brought the first successful application for discharge from the register in the State for a registered person before Wexford Circuit Court in October, 2014.
The application was not opposed by the State but extensive work was required in terms of input from the client and relevant expert evidence in order to succeed in the application before the Court. Our client had been convicted over 10 years when he applied for removal.The Court will examine each application in great detail and even if the Gardai have no objection to discharge that does not of itself ensure that the application will be successful.
Court applications are going to increase in this area as registered persons often find being on the register a barrier to security of employment and a restriction on moving on with their life family and personal life.
It is regrettable that at this time no effective legal aid is in existence to fund such applications but these applications are emotive in the extreme and a careful evaluation would need to be made on whether a registered person ought to apply in the first place.. Crime victims have no input in discharge applications at this time. This may change in time.
From a human rights perspective registered persons indefinitely registered have no independent right to review their being on the register other than by way of a discharge application.
The view expressed here do not amount to legal advice and if you have any queries about this blog post please contact me. The exact details of our client case are not published here to protect our client’s privacy.