Much fewer discharges without conviction

Statistics released today show that discharges without conviction have reduced significantly every year since 2010.

RNZ: Discharge without conviction numbers slump

Ministry of Justice figures show there were 3263 discharges without conviction in 2010. That number has fallen every year since, to 1872 last year.

Criminal Bar Association vice president Len Anderson said that was not surprising.

“It has become much more difficult to get a discharge without conviction. A few years ago, you could just go along to court and ask for it.

“Now it’s a very formalised process with affidavits, that is evidence in support, and you really have to demonstrate something quite out of the ordinary before you can get one.”

This is timely given the furore over a discharge without conviction.

The figures follow controversy around the case of Losi Filipo, a Wellington rugby player who was last month discharged without conviction for an assault on four people.

Anderson discusses issues related to this discharge.

“So far as career is concerned, you need to be able to establish that it will have an effect, not that it may have an effect. So if somebody has, say, an employment contract that is put in jeopardy, that’s obviously something the court will consider.

“One of the main things that keeps people out of trouble is having a job and if the person is likely to lose their job as result of a conviction, that is obviously an important factor and important consequence that other people wouldn’t face.

“If you take the rugby player situation, a rugby player with a contract who’s at risk of losing it would be in a different position to a promising rugby player who would hope to get a contract in the future.”

From the sound of what Rugby Union spokespeople had said and provided in character references there was no risk of Filipo losing his contract. However Filipo gave up his contract yesterday after widespread criticism.

1 Comment

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  September 28, 2016

    From the sound of what Rugby Union spokespeople had said and provided in character references there was no risk of Filipo losing his contract.

    I don’t know how you could conclude that.