Happy New Year from the National Pardon Centre

I would like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year for 2012. The past couple of years presented a lot of challenges in the pardon business due to the Conservative government’s assault on criminal justice (this was the phrase of a colleague I could not resist re-using). Although Bill C23-B has not yet passed it is included in the omnibus crime bill that has had the criminal justice community shaking its collective head for some time now.

We expect the crime bill to pass in the next few months and I personally do not have a lot of hope that anything to do with pardons will be amended. I am sure that if the bill passes in its current form we will see a number of charter challenges filed very soon after but I do not know of anyone with the resources or inclination to challenge the pardons section.

So I am sure we can expect pardons to become record suspensions in the next few months. If the bill ended there it would not be so bad since a simple name change doesn’t affect anyone in any real way. Unfortunately the bill contains some very real measures which will make it more difficult and take much longer for people to obtain a pardon. And in some extreme cases a pardon or record suspension will no longer be available at all.

Of course there is still time to make our voices heard. Contact your local MP and express your dissatisfaction with the current government and its stance on crime. There is no shortage of criticism for this bill. But unfortunately the Conservative government is happy to ignore just about all of it.

Happy new year to all!

Michael Ashby

mashby@nationalpardon.org

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