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Former prisoner successfully challenges Access NI checks

In our April Update, we reported that the High Court was hearing a judicial review brought by a former prisoner who was declared unsuitable for his job as a groundskeeper.  The High Court has held that it was unlawful to discontinue his employment.

The applicant was a former political prisoner who was released after serving eleven and a half years for a murder he committed at the age of 16.  He then worked for 18 years as a groundskeeper.  Due to a funding change, the organisation required its employees to undergo security checks.  As the applicant had a criminal record, the vetting process led to a decision that he was unsuitable to continue in his existing job.  He judicially reviewed the decision.
The Court found that the then First Minister Peter Robinson had breached the Ministerial Code in 2007 when he did not continue with guidance on employing former prisoners.  The principle of the recruitment guidance was that, ‘any conviction for a conflict related offence that pre-dates the Good Friday Agreement should not be taken into account unless it is materially relevant to the employment being sought.’
The Court held that the former First Minister should have brought his decision to dis-apply the existing policy on the recruitment of persons with conflict related convictions to the Executive Committee.
Read news article here.

Employment Law