Rehabilitation of Offenders Act


Published: 1991-10-01

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Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS [CH.100 – 1





LRO 1/2008 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS

CHAPTER 100

REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS

LIST OF AUTHORISED PAGES
1 - 2 LRO 1/2008
3 - 12 Original
13 - 14 LRO 1/2008
15 Original



ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Rehabilitated persons and spent convictions.
4. The rehabilitation period applicable to a conviction.
5. Effect of rehabilitation.
6. Limitations on rehabilitation under this Act.
7. Defamation actions.
8. Unauthorised disclosure of spent convictions.
9. Amendment of First and Third Schedules.

FIRST SCHEDULE — Excepted Offences
SECOND SCHEDULE— Excepted Proceedings
THIRD SCHEDULE

REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS [CH.100 – 3



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CHAPTER 100

REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS

An Act to rehabilitate offenders who have not
been reconvicted of any serious offence for periods of
years, to penalise the unauthorised disclosure of their
previous convictions and to amend the law of
defamation.

[Assent 26th September, 1991]
[Commencement 1st October, 1991]

1. This Act may be cited as the Rehabilitation of
Offenders Act.

2. (1) In this Act —
“Minister” means the Minister responsible for

Rehabilitation;
“rehabilitation period applicable” means the

rehabilitation period applicable by virtue of
section 4 to a conviction for an offence;

“sentence” includes any order made by a court in
dealing with a person in respect of his
conviction for any offence, other than an order
for committal or any order made in default of
payment of any fine or other sum adjudged to
be paid by or imposed on a conviction, or for
want of sufficient distress to satisfy any such
fine or other sum.

(2) In this Act, references to a conviction, however
expressed, are references to a conviction by or before a
court in The Bahamas.

(3) For the purposes of this Act, any of the following are
circumstances ancillary to a conviction, that is to say —

(a) the offence which was the subject of that
conviction;

(b) the conduct constituting that offence;
(c) any process or proceedings preliminary to that

conviction, any sentence imposed in respect of
that conviction, any proceedings (whether by


11 of 1991

Short title.

Interpretation.

CH.100 – 4] REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

way of appeal or otherwise) for reviewing that
conviction or any such sentence, and anything
done in pursuance of or undergone in
compliance with any such sentence.

(4) For the purposes of this Act, “proceedings
before a judicial authority” includes, in addition to
proceedings before any court, proceedings before any
tribunal, body or person having power —

(a) by virtue of any 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.

3. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), where an
individual has been convicted, whether before or after the
commencement of this Act, of any offence and the
following conditions are satisfied, that is to say —

(a) the offence is not excluded from rehabilitation
under this Act; and

(b) the individual has not been convicted, during the
rehabilitation period applicable to the first
mentioned conviction, of an offence which is
exclude from rehabilitation under this Act,

then, after the end of the rehabilitation period so applicable
(including, where appropriate, any extension under
subsection (3) of section 4 of the period originally
applicable to the first mentioned conviction) or, where that
rehabilitation period ended before the commencement of
this Act, immediately after the commencement of this Act,
that individual shall for the purposes of this Act be treated
as a rehabilitated person in respect of the first-mentioned
conviction and that conviction shall for those purposes be
treated as spent.

(2) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any
other provision of this Act, where an individual —

Rehabilitated
persons and
spent
convictions.

REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS [CH.100 – 5



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(a) has been convicted, whether before or after the
commencement of this Act, of an offence which
is not excluded from rehabilitation under this
Act and which was committed when that
individual was under the age of sixteen years;
and

(b) has not been convicted, during the rehabilitation
period applicable to the first-mentioned
conviction, of an offence,

that individual shall for the purposes of this Act be treated
as a rehabilitated person in respect of the first-mentioned
conviction and that conviction shall for those purposes be
treated as spent.

(3) A person shall not become a rehabilitated person
for the purposes of this Act in respect of a conviction
unless he has served or otherwise undergone or complied
with any sentence imposed on him in respect of that
conviction but —

(a) failure to pay a fine or other sum adjudged to be
paid by or imposed on a conviction; or

(b) breach of a condition of a recognisance or of a
bond to keep the peace or be of good behaviour,

shall not prevent a person from becoming a rehabilitated
person for those purposes.

(4) An individual convicted of an offence may
appeal to the Minister against the refusal of a public officer
to treat that individual as a rehabilitated person in respect
of a conviction, or to treat that conviction as spent, as
required by the provisions of this Act.

4. (1) The offences excluded from rehabilitation
under this Act are specified in the First Schedule and any
other offence is an offence subject to rehabilitation under
this Act.

(2) For the purposes of this Act, the rehabilitation
period applicable —

(a) to a conviction for an indictable offence, shall be
a period of fourteen years; and

(b) to a conviction for a summary offence or an
indictable offence dealt with summarily, shall be
a period of seven years,

The
rehabilitation
period applicable
to a conviction.
First Schedule.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

reckoned in either case from the date of the conviction, or
of the expiration of any period of custodial sentence (other
than for the non-payment of a fine or other sum) imposed
on that conviction, whichever is the later:

Provided that in the case of an individual who, at the
date of his conviction, was under the age of eighteen years,
the rehabilitation period applicable shall be half of the
respective periods mentioned in paragraph (a), or (b), as
the case may be.

(3) Where during the rehabilitation period
applicable to a conviction —

(a) the person convicted is convicted of a further
offence; and

(b) such further offence is not an offence excluded
from rehabilitation under this Act,

then, if the rehabilitation period applicable in accordance
with this section to either of the convictions would end
earlier than the period so applicable in relation to the other,
the rehabilitation period which would (apart from this
subsection) end the earlier shall be extended so as to end at
the same time as the other rehabilitation period.

5. (1) Subject to sections 6 and 7, a person who has
become a rehabilitated person for the purposes of this Act
in respect of a conviction shall be treated for all purposes
in law as a person who has not committed or been charged
with or prosecuted for or convicted of or sentenced for the
offence which was the subject of that conviction; and,
notwithstanding the provisions of any other written law or
rule of law to the contrary, but subject as aforesaid —

(a) 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 convicted of
or sentenced for any offence which was the
subject of a spent conviction; and

(b) a person shall not, in any such proceedings, be
asked, and, if asked, shall not be required to
answer, any question relating to his past which
cannot be answered without acknowledging or
referring to a spent conviction or any
circumstances ancillary thereto.

Effect of
rehabilitation.

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(2) Subject to subsections (3) to (5) of section 6 and
to the provisions of any order made under subsection (4),
where a question seeking information with respect to a
person’s previous convictions, conduct or circumstances is
put to him or to any other person otherwise than in
proceedings before a judicial authority —

(a) the question shall be treated as not relating to
spent convictions or to any circumstances
ancillary to spent convictions and the answer
thereto may be framed accordingly; and

(b) the person questioned shall not be subjected to
any liability or otherwise prejudiced in law by
reason of any failure to acknowledge or disclose
a spent conviction or any circumstances
ancillary to a spent conviction in his answer to
the question.

(3) Subject to subsections (3) to (5) of section 6 and
to the provisions of any order made under subsection (4) —

(a) any obligation imposed on any person by any
rule of law or by the provisions of any
agreement or arrangement to disclose any
matters to any other person shall not extend to
requiring him to disclose a spent conviction or
any circumstances ancillary to a spent
conviction (whether the conviction is his or
another’s); and

(b) a conviction which has become spent or any
circumstances ancillary thereto, or any failure to
disclose a spent conviction 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 in any way in any
occupation or employment.

(4) The Minister may by order —
(a) make such provision as seems to him appropriate

for excluding or modifying the application of
either or both of paragraphs (a) and (b) of
subsection (2) in relation to questions put in such
circumstances as may be specified in the order;
and

CH.100 – 8] REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(b) provide for such exceptions from the provisions
of subsection (3) as seem to him appropriate, in
such cases or classes of case, and in relation to
convictions of such a description, as may be
specified in the order.

6. (1) Nothing in subsection (1) of section 5 shall
affect —

(a) any power of the Governor-General exercisable
in Her Majesty’s name and on Her Majesty’s
behalf under Article 90 of the Constitution;

(b) the enforcement by any process or proceedings
of any fine or other sum adjudged to be paid by
or imposed on a spent conviction;

(c) the issue of any process for the purpose of
proceedings in respect of any breach of a
condition or requirement applicable to a
sentence imposed in respect of a spent
conviction; or;

(d) the operation of any written law by virtue of
which, in consequence of any conviction, a
person is subject, otherwise than by way of
sentence, to any disqualification, disability,
prohibition or other penalty the period of which
extends beyond the rehabilitation period
applicable in accordance with section 4 to the
conviction.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) of section 5 shall
affect the determination of any issue, or prevent the
admission or requirement of any evidence, relating to a
person’s previous convictions or to circumstances ancillary
thereto —

(a) in any criminal proceedings before a court
(including any appeal or reference in a criminal
matter);

(b) in any proceedings relating to adoption or to the
guardianship, wardship, marriage, custody, care
or control of a child or young person; or

(c) in any proceedings in which he is a party or
witness, provided that on the occasion when the
issue or the admission or requirement of the
evidence falls to be determined, he consents to the
determination of the issue or, as the case may


Limitations on
rehabilitation
under this Act.

REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS [CH.100 – 9



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be, the admission or requirement of the evidence
notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1)
of section 5.

(3) Subsection (1) of section 5 shall not apply in
relation to any proceedings specified in the Second
Schedule.

(4) Subsection (2) of section 5 shall not apply in
relation to —

(a) any question asked by or on behalf of any
person, in the course of duties of his office or
employment, in order to assess the suitability —

(i) of the person to whom the question relates
for admission to any of the professions
specified in Part I of the Third Schedule;

(ii) of the person to whom the question relates
for any office or employment specified in
Part II of the Third Schedule;

(iii) of the person to whom the question relates
or of any other person to pursue any
occupation specified in Part III of the
Third Schedule or to pursue it subject to a
particular condition or restriction;

(iv) of the person to whom the question relates
or of any other person to hold a licence,
certificate or permit of a kind in Part IV of
the Third Schedule,

where the person questioned is informed at the
time the question is asked that, by virtue of this
paragraph, spent convictions are to be disclosed;

(b) any question asked by or on behalf of any
person, in the course of his duties as a person
employed in the service of the Crown, in order
to assess, for the purpose of safeguarding
national security, the suitability of the person to
whom the question relates or of any other person
for any office or employment where the person
questioned is informed at the time the question
is asked that, by virtue of this paragraph, spent
convictions are to be disclosed for the purpose
of safeguarding national security.

Second Schedule.

Part I of Third
Schedule.

Part II of Third
Schedule.

Part III of Third
Schedule.

Part IV of Third
Schedule.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(5) Paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of section 5 shall
not apply in relation to —

(a) the dismissal or exclusion of any person from
any profession specified in Part I of the Third
Schedule;

(b) the dismissal or exclusion of any air traffic
controller, or any operator or any vehicle, vessel or
aircraft used for public transportation, on the
ground of a conviction of an offence an element of
which is the use or possession of any drugs or
alcohol;

(c) any office, employment or occupation specified
in Part II or Part III of that Schedule; or

(d) any action taken for the purpose of safeguarding
national security.

(6) Where, by virtue of any of the provisions of
subsections (3) to (5), the operation of any of the
provisions of this Act is excluded in relation to spent
convictions, the exclusion shall be taken to extend to spent
convictions for offences of every description.

(7) If at any stage in any proceedings before a
judicial authority (not being proceedings to which, by
virtue of this Act, subsection (1) of section 5 has no
application, or proceedings to which section 7 applies), the
authority is satisfied, in the light of any considerations
which appear to it to be relevant (including any evidence
which has been or may thereafter be put before it), that
justice cannot be done in the case except by admitting or
requiring evidence relating to a person’s spent convictions
or to circumstances ancillary thereto, that authority may
admit or, as the case may be, require the evidence in
question notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1)
of section 5, and may determine any issue to which the
evidence relates in disregard, so far as necessary, of those
provisions.

(8) No order made by a court with respect to any
person otherwise than on a conviction shall be included in
any list or statement of that person’s previous convictions
given or made to any court which is considering how to
deal with him in respect of any offence.

Part I of Third
Schedule.

Parts II and III
of Third
Schedule.

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(9) The Minister may by order exclude the
application of subsection (1) of section 5 in relation to any
proceedings specified in the order (other than proceedings
to which section 7 applies) to such extent and for such
purposes as may be so specified.

7. (1) This section applies to any action for libel or
slander begun after the commencement of this Act by a
rehabilitated person and founded upon the publication of
any matter imputing that the plaintiff has committed or
been charged with or prosecuted for or convicted of or
sentenced for an offence which was the subject of a spent
conviction.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) of section 5 shall
affect an action to which this section applies where the
publication complained of took place before the conviction
in question became spent, and the following provisions of
this section shall not apply in any such case.

(3) Subject to subsection (5) and (6), nothing in
subsection (1) of section 5 shall prevent the defendant in an
action to which this section applies from relying on any
defence of justification or fair comment or of absolute or
qualified privilege which is available to him, or restrict the
matters he may establish in support of any such defence.

(4) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection
(3), where in any such action malice is alleged against a
defendant who is relying on a defence of qualified
privilege, nothing in subsection (1) of section 5 shall
restrict the matters he may establish a rebuttal of the
allegation.

(5) A defendant in any such action shall not by
virtue of subsection (3) be entitled to rely upon the defence
of justification if the publication is proved to have been
made with malice.

(6) Subject to subsection (7) a defendant in any such
action shall not, by virtue of subsection (3), be entitled to
rely on any matter or adduce or require any evidence for
the purpose of establishing the defence that the matter
published constituted a fair and accurate report of judicial
proceedings if it is proved that the publication contained a
reference to evidence which was ruled to be inadmissible
in the proceedings by virtue of subsection (1) of section 5.

Defamation
actions.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(7) Subsection (3) shall apply without the
qualifications imposed by subsection (6) in relation to —

(a) any report of judicial proceedings contained in
any bona fide series of law reports which does
not form part of any other publication and
consists solely of reports of proceedings in
courts of law; and

(b) any report or account of judicial proceedings
published for bona fide educational, scientific or
professional purposes, or given in the course of
any lecture, class or discussion given or held for
any of those purposes.

8. (1) Subject to the provisions of any order made
under subsection (4), any person who in the course of his
official duties, has or at any time has had custody of or
access to any official record or the information contained
therein, is guilty of an offence if, knowing or having
reasonable cause to suspect that any specified information
which he has obtained in the course of those duties is
specified information, he discloses it, otherwise than in the
course of those duties to another person.

(2) In any proceedings for an offence under
subsection (1), it shall be a defence to show that the
disclosure was made —

(a) to the rehabilitated person or to another person
at the express request of the rehabilitated person;
or

(b) to a person whom he reasonably believed to be
the rehabilitated person or to another person at
the express request of a person whom he
reasonably believed to be the rehabilitated
person.

(3) Any person who obtains any specified
information from any official record by means of any
fraud, dishonesty or bribe is guilty of an offence.

(4) The Minister may by order make such provision
as appears to him to be appropriate for excepting the
disclosure of specified information derived from an official
record from the provisions of subsection (1) in such cases
or classes of case as may be specified in the order.

Unauthorised
disclosure of
spent
convictions.

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LRO 1/2008 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(5) Any person guilty of an offence under
subsection (1) or (3) is liable on summary conviction to a
fine of one thousand dollars.

(6) In this section —
“official record” means a record kept for the

purposes of its functions by a court,
Government department or public body or by
the Royal Bahamas Police Force, being a record
containing information about persons convicted
of offences;

“specified information” means information imputing
that a named or otherwise identifiable
rehabilitated living person has committed or
been charged with or prosecuted for or
convicted of or sentenced for any offence which
is the subject of a spent conviction.

9. The Minister may by order amend the provisions
of the First or Third Schedule.

FIRST SCHEDULE (Section 4(1))

EXCEPTED OFFENCES
Manslaughter in respect of which a sentence of five
years or more has been imposed on conviction.
Murder.
Possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply.
Treason.
Armed robbery.
Rape.
Unlawful carnal knowledge contrary to section 286 of
the Penal Code.

SECOND SCHEDULE (Section 6(3))

EXCEPTED PROCEEDINGS
1. Proceedings in respect of a person’s admission to, or

disciplinary proceedings against a member of, any profession
specified in Part I of the Third Schedule.

2. Disciplinary proceedings against a member of the Public
Service including proceedings under the Police Act and the
Defence Act.

Amendment of
First and Third
Schedules.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2008

3. Proceedings by way of appeal against, or review of, any
decision taken by virtue of the provisions of this Act, on
consideration of a spent conviction.


4. Proceedings held for the receipt of evidence affecting the

determination of any question arising in any proceedings
specified in this Schedule.

THIRD SCHEDULE (Section 6(4) and (5))

PART I
EXCEPTED PROFESSIONS

1. Counsel and attorney.
2. Medical practitioner.
3. Dentist, dental nurse, dental hygienist, dental technician.
4. Veterinary surgeon.
5. Nurse, midwife.
6. Optician.
7. Chemist, pharmacist.

PART II
EXCEPTED OFFICES AND EMPLOYMENTS

1. Justice of the Court of Appeal and Justice of the Supreme
Court.

2. Member of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Police
Volunteer Reservist and Supernumerary Police Officer.

3. The following members of the Public Service —
(a) persons employed in any public office to which

Article 117 of the Constitution applies;
(b) members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force; and
(c) members of the Prison Service.

4. Any person whose duties include the keeping or
maintenance of financial records, books or accounts, or the
auditing of any such records, books or accounts.

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PART III
REGULATED OCCUPATIONS

1. Firearms dealer within the meaning assigned to that
expression by subsection (1) of section 2 of the Firearms Act.

PART IV
EXCEPTED LICENCES, CERTIFICATES AND PERMITS

1. A licence, certificate or permit issued under the Firearms Act.