Disclosure (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Maree Todd Maree Todd Scottish National Party

Since the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 was developed, the period of disclosure has always been set from the date of conviction and based on the disposals upon conviction. That is the most straightforward approach to take. In the period between offence and conviction, there is nothing to protect an individual from, because they are not yet carrying the status of a person with a conviction.

We decided to take a different approach, following the model in the Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019. Doing that will ensure that we deliver on our commitment to treat childhood offending as being different from adult offending behaviour. So, in the Disclosure (Scotland) Bill, as in the Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019, we are using the date of offence.

The presumption that is provided for in section 41 of the bill is there to deal with borderline cases in which the behaviour was committed under the age of 18 but the conviction occurred after the individual had turned 18. I hope that that reassures the member that we have considered that complexity and made the appropriate choices.