For those who regularly travel overseas, who work in government jobs, in finance or with children, or for those who generally wish to avoid a criminal conviction to maintain their reputation of good character, obtaining a section 10 is imperative.
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Avoiding a conviction
A Court can, following a finding of guilt, exercise its discretion and not record a conviction. This discretion can be utilised under the following sections of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999:
- Section 10(1)(a): where there is a finding of guilt, but the charge is dismissed without recording a conviction
- Section 10(1)(b): where there is a finding of guilt, but the person is discharged under a conditional release order in accordance with section 9(2) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999
- Section 10(1)(c): where there is a finding of guilt, but the person is discharged, without recording a conviction, on the condition that the person enter into an agreement to participate in an intervention program
What is the effect of no conviction being recorded?
Although a conviction has not been formally entered, the charge and finding of guilt will remain on a person’s police record and should that person be charged in the future, the charge will be before the Court in any future proceedings. The matter is not wiped from your police or Court record.
If a person is sentenced to a conditional release order without conviction, or received an order under section 10(1)(c) the offence will remain on the individual’s criminal record until the order has been successfully complied with. For example, if you receive a 10 month conditional release order, the offence will remain on your record for the duration of that 10 months.
As a formal conviction has not been entered it may be that in certain circumstances an individual is not required to disclose the offence when asked to do so for employment or travel purposes. This will depend on the nature of the question, as well as the specific disclosure requirements and you should seek legal advice before deciding whether or not to disclose previous offences.