On January 13th reporter Clem Newton-Brown told in The Sydney Morning Herald of Noel Toevy, an aboriginal dancer, who was arrested one evening in 1951 on suspicion of having participated in a homosexual act. Now, six decades on, Australia is about to expunge the criminal records of those accused of ‘gay crimes’.
Similarly, back in 2009 sections 2 and 3 of our Criminal Procedure Amendment Act came into effect, allowing for the expungement of criminal records relating to crimes committed during the apartheid era. The act has also made it possible for individuals convicted of minor offences to have their criminal records expunged.
Should you have a criminal record as a result of some minor crime committed in the past, now would be the best time to act and get your name cleared.
In today’s security-conscious world the focus is increasingly shifted towards personal safety. Travel is perhaps one of the most publicised everyday conveniences where the focus on personal safety has increased dramatically; many international destination visa applications have to be accompanied by proof of a clean slate.
Local experiences are increasingly becoming limited too, since criminal record checks are coming part and parcel with various kinds of employment opportunities (working in a high-security environment, with sensitive data, or with children), a professional driver’s permit (PDP), and even average consumer privileges.
Getting your criminal record expunged – what are the requirements?
The expungement process can be relatively quick depending on volumes, and is recommended to everyone who meets the basic requirements. These include:
- You must have a criminal record
- Said criminal record must be at least 10 years old, with
- No subsequent convictions
- You were given the option of paying a fine (R20,000 or less), or
- You were given the option of paying a fine with the understanding that it would not result in a criminal record
- Serious crimes such as murder, rape, armed robbery, or assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm do not qualify
Crimes that do qualify for record expungement include:
- Petty theft
- Certain politically motivated crimes, and
- Crimes in respect of which the punishment is now unconstitutional
Now aged 79, Toevy has enjoyed a successful international dancing career. Perhaps a clean slate won’t mean that much to a man who seemed to have lived life to the fullest in spite of the wrongs committed against him in the past, but still, if this was an option available to him in the past, one cannot but wonder if he would have seized the opportunity to have his criminal record expunged too.