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People convicted of violating emergency orders can now apply for expungement 

Chairman of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Committee Paul Farquharson said yesterday that people can now apply to have breaches of the emergency orders expunged from their criminal records. 

“As announced by the minister of national security two weeks ago, these matters ought to be brought before the committee almost immediately,” he said at a press conference.

“… We want to encourage members of the public throughout The Bahamas who … were convicted under the emergency orders and the curfew to apply to the committee for those records to be expunged.”

The Bahamas has been under a state of emergency since it confirmed its first COVID-19 case in March 2020.

The state of emergency, which was declared by the governor general, empowers the prime minister, as competent authority, to impose restrictions – such as curfews, business closures, lockdowns and border closures – to curb the spread of COVID-19.

As a result, some who were found to be in violation of the emergency order were charged in court.

The recently-elected Davis administration pledged to expunge those records.

Farquharson said yesterday that people on Grand Bahama can get applications to have their records expunged from the Office of the Prime Minister. Those in the Family Islands can pick up applications from the administrators’ offices.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Committee was formed in September 2019 and focuses on the expungement of records for young people under 21 and first-time offenders.

Farquharson said the committee has had 200 applications to date, of them, 31 records have been expunged so far and 27 referred to the Prerogative of Mercy.

“We have had several matters, I think four or five of them, recommended for counseling,” Farquharson said.

“And in Grand Bahama, we have dealt with 28 applications or thereabout. And in our last meeting in August, this committee made a recommendation to the minister to have nine of those records expunged.”

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Rachel Scott

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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