Bit Of Help Please Lads?

Discussion in 'The Corps' started by SecondChanceSam, Sep 21, 2011.

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  1. Hello, I'm a new member here and I joined because I'm hoping to get a solid answer to a question, what I wanna know is: Can I join the Marines with a spent suspended sentence?

    I've asked careers advisers, my solicitor, even mates I have that are currently serving in The Corps, but nobody seems to know for sure what the correct answer is.

    Basically 3yrs ago I was given a suspended sentence for assaulting my brother and damaging his flat (trust me, I'm totally ashamed of myself for it) but the whole time I've had the suspended sentence I've kept my nose completely clean, and now it's spent I would love to join the Royal Marines and turn my life around, now I've been told be my solicitor that because it's "just a suspended sentence and not a prison term" I shouldnt have any issues with joining up, and she's even suggested that I probably wouldn't even have to declare it because it wasnt a custodial sentence, but recruiters at my local AFCO have said that I would definitely have to declare it but that also it probably wouldn't be an issue seeing as I've kept my nose clean the whole time l.

    I've also asked a few mates I know who serve with the 1st amphibious assault squadron in Poole, and a few of them told me that they joined up with actual custodial sentences on their records and they had only to declare it and be honest and they were allowed to join up with practically no issues at all.

    So, with all these conflicting answers I really don't know what's correct, so I'm here, asking a bunch of former service personnel who may be more educated about it than the people I've asked, any help would be greatly appreciated as I really have my heart set on joining the ranks of the Royal Marines.

    Cheers lads.
  2. Yes you can. It is a spent conviction.

    I bet it was fun whilst you were smashing him.
  3. Firstly, the only conflicting answer is that your solicitor (who, whilst he may know about the law*, does not know much about Armed Forces recruiting policy) is guessing that you don't have to declare it, but it should not stop you joining up, whereas all the others (who, whilst they might not know much about the law, know a sight more about the Armed Forces recruiting policies**) are stating with some certainty that you have to declare it, but it should not stop you joining up. Guess which group I tend to agree with.

    What I would say though is, what do you mean by 'spent'? I ask this because I am guessing from what you wrote that you had your sentence suspended for three years, and that three year period is now over, and you consider yourself free from the shadow of this. That is not the meaning of 'spent' under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. There are specific rules about when a conviction becomes 'spent', and these depend on both the length of your sentence and your age at the time. The person best able to advise you on this is your AFCO, to whom you will have to declare your conviction anyway ('cause it says so in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974). Go and speak to them.

    Oh, and by the way, we are not all former service personnel.

    * Well, some aspects of the law, perhaps, though clearly not about the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

    **Especially the AFCO, as it is their job, after all.
  4. It was a 5month sentence suspended for 3yrs, and from what I've been told, the law dictates that after the initial sentence of 5months had passed, assuming I hadn't got in trouble with the authorities (which I hadnt) then the conviction was considered "spent" as in, I was no longer constrained by the terms of the sentence and could apply for things such as an SIA license without having to declare the conviction (which you would have to do if given a custodial sentence) but that the rest of the suspended sentence served as a probationary period, meaning that if I reoffended my original court case for assault could and would be reopened and taken into consideration with regards to sentencing for whatever my new offence was for.

    Now, what confuses me is that the armed forces clearly state that just because you have a less than savoury past it doesn't mean you can't join, it just depends on the seriousness of the offense, so the normal 5yr conviction free period you need to have before joining, as dictated by the "rehabilitation of offenders act 1974" doesn't necessarily apply to all potential recruits with a criminal record, but it doesn't say whether or not suspended sentences are treated differently to custodial sentences or not.

    It seems to be a kind of case by case arrangement where one rule that applies to one person may not necessarily apply to another in a similar situation. All I want is a solid answer, and nobody seems to be able to provide it, not even the recruiters at the AFCO.
  5. Honestly, the only people you are going to get a reliable answer from are the AFCO. If your local one doesn't know at the moment, he quickly will once you have started the recruitment process. You may get all sorts of different answers from all sorts of different people claiming different areas of expertise, but the only answer that counts is the one your AFCO gives you.
  6. There is no such thing as a spent conviction if they do a CRB check on you.
  7. I've just found out today that my sentence was neither suspended or deferred but it was in fact a conditional discharge, which the rehabilitation of offenders act 1974 states is spent after either a year or until the term has expired, whichevers longer, which means I can join with no problems!! :)
  8. Good.

    How did you find this out?
  9. I went and saw my solicitor again but she was in court all day so I was told to wait and one of the senior solicitors at the firm would deal with me.

    So he called me into his office, went over everything and explained that the information I'd been given wasn't accurate, apparently a conditional discharge is considered spent after either a year or when the term is expired, it goes on your criminal record but it's not considered an excluding factor when joining the armed forces or even the police, so I'm proper chuffed.
  10. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    This is a good example of why an AFCO is unable to offer definitive advice if there isn't a definitive question.

    If the convicted person or their solicitor cannot categorically determine what the penalty was or determine the difference between a suspended prison sentence (which carries the same rehabilitation period as a prison sentence) & a conditional discharge then we would advise the individual obtains a print-out from the court detailing the conviction. Very often applicants "forget" they may have perhaps paid a fine also, which carries a 5 year rehabilitation period, so the AFCO will always be cautious.

    Generally, people pay scant regard to the penalty until it becomes pertinent.

    Spent convictions need not be declared on the Rehabilitation of Offenders form submitted with the initial application, however ALL offences, spent or unspent, must be declared on the online security questionnaire.

    Best of luck with the application.
  11. No it doesn't. It means that you can apply along with the rest of the great unwashed and see how you get on.
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  12. I think I'll take the word of a senior solicitor over yours mate, but cheers.
  13. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

    It means as Drakey says that you can start the process which if you jump all of the hurdles MAY get you through the doors of Raleigh in anything up to four years time. Or do you think that you just turn up at the gate and away you go?

    My extensive experience of Solicitors/Barristers tells me that they are not always right in all things.
  14. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Ooh, goody! Here we go... :happy1:

    (By the way, what's the difference between a Solicitor and a Senior Solicitor..?) :?
  15. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    A bad solicitor can delay proceedings for weeks. A good one can delay it for months... :twisted:
  16. Fill your boots. Is that because you had to pay for her advice/opinion and therefoe her word is gospel, while mine and that of others has been free.
  17. I didn't have to pay at all mate, it's just because I have had the rehabilitation of offenders act thoroughly explained to me and have seen what it says about conditional discharges and when they're considered spent with my own eyes, that's all.

    I wasn't being sarcy about it, I just know ALL the facts now that's all mate.
  18. what I meant by senior solicitor is that he was a senior partner at the firm, his name is above the door so to speak.
  19. I know I have to do selection and everything, it doesn't take four years though mate, I've spoken to a Marines recruiter and he told me I can be at selection in between 2-4 months, and then provided I pass, i can be doing my training at the next intake of recruits at lympstone, which ge says is roughly every 3-6 months depending on how many recruits they have.
  20. Why is everyone your mate all of a sudden?
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