Not Guilty Verdicts in Criminal Records Checks

Judith Thompson

The BBC reported last month that a man acquitted of rape lost a claim in the Supreme Court to remove reference to the case against him from his enhanced criminal records check.

In 2011, the man in question was found not guilty of rape after a trial in the Crown Court. However, details of the allegations against him and the not guilty verdict continued to be included in his criminal records certificate. He was subject to enhanced criminal records checks because he worked as a teacher.

He brought a claim stating that the reference infringed his right to a private life but this was unanimously dismissed by the Supreme Court. This is despite the fact that the man stated that the inclusion of this information in his criminal records check meant that he could not get a job.

One of the Judges in the case stated that even if the details of the acquittal are expressed in entirely neutral terms, the fact the acquittal was included in the criminal records check suggested that there was some legitimate concern about the man in question. However, this was not reflected by the final outcome of the case.

Judith Thompson, a reputation management solicitor at Samuels Solicitors LLP says: “this is a somewhat surprising judgment. At Samuels, have advised several individuals who have been acquitted of crimes and yet continue to have publically available information published about them which (whether or not the information about the client is neutral), continues to have an effect upon their lives.

In certain cases, we are able to assist with the removal of such information from internet search engines  and it may well be that the case which has just been decided will mean greater consideration is given to information which is contained in enhanced criminal records checks”

At Samuels Solicitors LLP, we have a national reputation assisting clients who wish to deal with damage to their reputation.  Where clients have been the victim of defamation, such as libel or slander, in some cases we are able to act under the terms of a conditional (no win no fee) agreement. 

In other cases, we have been able to help client get right of unwanted internet search results, by applying to the search engines for the "right to be forgotten".

Contact us today for a discussion about how we can assist.