Navigating the Process: Can You Get Off the Sex Offender Registry?
The article Navigating the Process: Can You Get Off the Sex Offender Registry? is written by Amelia Ramsay, Senior Associate, Doogue + George Defence Lawyers.
Amelia is a Senior Associate based in our City office with 10 years’ experience in criminal law. Amelia provides advice and representation in all criminal law jurisdictions across Victoria.
Simple Steps for Registrable Offenders Applying for Suspension of Reporting Obligations
Our firm is the first to have an application listed in the Supreme Court for a client who is applying to have their reporting conditions suspended.
For lifelong registrable offenders seeking to rebuild their lives after a conviction, the Sex Offender Registration Act 2004 (SORA) provides a mechanism for suspension of reporting obligations under Section 39. This provision acknowledges that individuals can rehabilitate and pose a lower risk to society over time. If you’re a registrable offender with reporting obligations for life who is looking to take this important step, this blog will guide you through the process of applying for suspension.
Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility to Stop Reporting
Before embarking on the application process, it’s crucial to ascertain whether you meet the eligibility criteria for an application to the Supreme Court for suspension of reporting obligations. Factors such as the nature of your offence, the time that has passed since your conviction, and any relevant court orders play a role in determining your eligibility. But the primary criteria for eligibility are that you are a person required to comply with SORA reporting obligations for life and that 15 years have passed since you were sentenced or released from custody.
Step 2: Assemble the Required Documentation
To prepare your application, gather all the necessary documentation:
- Court orders or sentencing remarks related to your conviction and any subsequent court decisions
- Police summary, brief of evidence and charges
- Records of participation in rehabilitation programs or treatment
- Character references from employers, community leaders, or others who can vouch for your rehabilitation and reduced risk of reoffending
- Specialised psychologist’s report of risk assessment
Step 3: Prepare your Application
The Supreme Court rules require that you complete Form 6-12AA and that you set out the details of your application in an affidavit. You need to persuade the Court that you pose no risk or a low risk to the sexual safety of one or more persons or the community, and that suspending your reporting requirements is in the public interest. Addressing the factors the Court must take into account will improve your chances of success.
Step 4: Submit Your Application
Once your application form and affidavit are complete and all supporting documents are in order, submit your application to the Supreme Court Registry. Maintain copies of all submitted materials for your records. You will also need to serve a copy of your application on the office of the Chief Commissioner of Police.
Step 6: Await the Decision About Whether It is Opposed
Following the submission of your application, prepare for a waiting period as authorities review your case. The Chief Commissioner of Police will decide whether they oppose your application. They are also entitled to file written submissions with the Court. While you wait, continue to fulfill your reporting obligations.
Step 7: The Court Hearing
The Court will list a Directions Hearing so that dates can be set for submissions to be filed and for the hearing of the application. On the day of your application hearing, the Court will want oral submissions from you or your legal representative about why they should suspend your reporting obligations. The Chief Commissioner’s legal representative will make submissions as well. It is unlikely the Court will make a decision on that day, so you will need to return to Court when a decision is made.
For registrable offenders seeking suspension of reporting obligations under Section 39 of the Sex Offender Registration Act 2004, this process represents a significant stride toward regaining everyday freedoms. By adhering to these steps and seeking guidance from legal professionals, you can navigate the application process with confidence.
Date Published: 17 August 2023