Children Act, 2001

PART 13

Miscellaneous

Non-disclosure of certain findings of guilt. 258.—(1) Where a person has been found guilty of an offence whether before or after the commencement of this section, and—
(a) the offence was committed before the person attained the age of 18 years,
(b) the offence is not an offence required to be tried by the Central Criminal Court,
(c) a period of not less than 3 years has elapsed since the finding of guilt, and
(d) the person has not been dealt with for an offence in that 3-year period,
then, after the end of the 3-year period or, where the period ended before the commencement of this section, after the commencement of this section, the provisions of subsection (4) shall apply to the finding of guilt.
(2) This section shall not apply to a person who is found guilty of an offence unless he or she has served a period of detention or otherwise complied with any court order imposed on him or her in respect of the finding of guilt.
(3) Subsection (2) shall not prevent the application of this section to a person who—
(a) failed to pay a fine or other sum adjudged to be paid by, or imposed on, the person on a finding of guilt or breach of a condition of a recognisance to keep the peace or to be of good behaviour, or
(b) breached any condition or requirement applicable in relation to an order of a court which renders a person to whom it applies liable to be dealt with for the offence in respect of which the order was made.
(4) (a)  A person to whom this section applies shall be treated for all purposes in law as a person who has not committed or been charged with or prosecuted for or found guilty of or dealt with for the offence or offences which were the subject of the finding of guilt; and, notwithstanding any other statutory provision or rule of law to the contrary but, subject as aforesaid—
(i) no evidence shall be admissible in any proceedings before a judicial authority to prove that any such person has committed or been charged with or prosecuted for or found guilty of or dealt with for any offence which was the subject of that finding, and
(ii) a person shall not, in any such proceedings, be asked, and, if asked, shall not be required to answer, any question relating to his or her past which cannot be answered without acknowledging or referring to a finding or findings to which this section refers or any circumstances ancillary thereto.
(b)  Subject to any order made under paragraph (d), where a question seeking information with respect to a person’s previous finding of guilt, offences, conduct or circumstances is put to him or her or to any other person otherwise than in proceedings before a judicial authority—
(i) the question shall be treated as not relating to findings to which this section applies or to any circumstances ancillary to such findings, and the answer thereto may be framed accordingly, and
(ii) the person questioned shall not be subjected to any liability or otherwise prejudiced in law by reason of any failure to acknowledge or disclose any such findings or any circumstances ancillary to the findings in his or her answer to the question.
(c)  Subject to any order made under paragraph (d)
(i) any obligation imposed on any person by any rule of law or by any agreement or arrangement to disclose any matters to any other person shall not extend to requiring him or her to disclose a finding to which this section applies or any circumstances ancillary to the finding (whether the finding is his her own or another’s), and
(ii) a finding to which this section applies, or any circumstances ancillary thereto or any failure to acknowledge or disclose a finding to which this section applies or any such circumstances, shall not be a proper ground for dismissing or excluding a person from any office, profession, occupation or employment, or for prejudicing him or her in any way in any occupation or employment.
(d)  The Minister may by order make such provision as in his or her opinion is appropriate—
(i) for excluding or modifying the application of either or both of subparagraphs (i) and (ii) of paragraph (b) in relation to questions put in such circumstances as may be specified in the order, or
(ii) for exceptions from the provisions of paragraph (c) in relation to such cases, and findings of such a description, as may be so specified.
(5) An order under subsection (4)(d) may be amended or revoked by the Minister, including an order under this subsection.
(6) A draft of any order proposed to be made under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the order shall not be made until a resolution approving of the draft has been passed by each such House.
(7) For the purposes of this section any of the following circumstances are circumstances ancillary to a finding, that is to say:
(a) the offence or offences which were the subject of the finding,
(b) the conduct constituting that offence or those offences,
(c) any process or proceedings preliminary to the finding,
(d) any penalty imposed in respect of it,
(e) any proceedings (whether by way of appeal or otherwise) for reviewing any such finding or penalty,
(f) anything done in pursuance of or undergone in compliance with any such penalty.
(8) For the purposes of this section “proceedings before a judicial authority” includes, in addition to proceedings before a court, proceedings before any tribunal, body or person having power—
(a) by virtue of any statutory provision, law, custom or practice,
(b) under the rules governing any association, institution, profession, occupation or employment, or
(c) under any provision of an agreement providing for arbitration with respect to questions arising thereunder,
to determine any question affecting the rights, privileges, obligations or liabilities of any person, or to receive evidence affecting the determination of any such question.