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Oct 31, 2017

How You Can Get Your Criminal Record Expunged for Weed

During the Senate’s extensive debate of the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill last Wednesday, Churches Senator Ashley Rocke recorded the formal opposition of the organizations he represents – the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches and Belize Council of Churches, joined in rare unanimity by the National Evangelical Association of Belize. But the rest of the upper chamber, specifically the Opposition’s Paul Thompson, was already looking forward to the proposed expungement of criminal records for the specific marijuana offence. Whether the offender was imprisoned or fined, absolution, said Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, requires only a stroke of the keyboard by the Police Department and Magistrate’s Court.

 

Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson, P.U.P. Senator

“Since this bill talks about the expungement of criminal records for people who were caught with possession for marijuana and fined up to a thousand dollars or less, I would ask for their benefit, for those affected people, to please explain how that process would work? Because these things are not always straightforward. You may have a scenario where someone was caught with five grams of marijuana, and maybe paid more than a thousand dollars, or there may be a situation where someone was caught with eight grams of marijuana, and was not fined and went to jail.”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Senator

“The amounts don’t differ. If you want to expunge your record, all you need to do is to apply to the Commissioner of Police; you get your record – they would have it, but you get your record from the Magistrate’s Court or wherever you were convicted. You apply and you ask for it to be expunged. Of course, that is not an automatic process; if you are a career criminal, then maybe not. But we are trying to say that if that is there on the books, there is a great chance that that will just be removed.”

 

Ashley Rocke

Ashley Rocke, Churches Senator

“We understand what you are trying to do, we understand what the law is trying to do; but as it relates to the church and its position on the issues of drugs, we cannot support that change. We understand, in principle, what you are trying to do and what you are trying to accomplish, but the question is, was there other ways in which this could have been done? Rather than giving smokers the leeway to smoke, would it have been better if those people or if the government could have found another way to deal with the drug issue.”

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