What They Did Was Wrong, Not Everyone Needs To Know About It

No. 47 of #50cases.

Nobody is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. T’s mistake was to steal two bicycles when he was eleven years old. JB’s mistake was shoplifting a packet of false fingernails from a Superdrug. What they did it was wrong, but are they criminals? Neither of them was charged or received a conviction or sentence. T got a police warning, JB a caution.

They both got on with their lives: T decided to get into sport studies, and JB completed a training course for employment in the care sector. But, years later, when they were required to provide an enhanced criminal record certificate – T to enrol in a sport course, and JB to be employed as a carer – those warnings got in their way. The enhanced criminal record check certificates disclosed their past mistakes, and as a result T’s enrolment and JB’s hiring were suddenly at risk.

T and JB went to the Supreme Court, arguing that the disclosure of those warnings had violated their right to privacy, and won their cases. As a result, the criminal records checking scheme was changed and now allows the non-disclosure of most past and minor cautions or convictions.