Kelvin contacted our helpline as he wanted some information about the cost of applying to have his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) discharged, as well as details of any solicitors that could help him do this. Kelvin explained that although he was really keen to do this, as it was seriously affecting his chances of getting a job, he had very limited funds available.
We explained to Kelvin that the amendment of a SOPO is dealt with by the court as a civil rather than a criminal case and therefore representing yourself in court is possible and much cheaper than employing the services of a solicitor. In some cases, solicitors can deal with the discharge of SOPO’s using the same legal aid certificate which related to the original court hearing and we suggested that Kelvin check with his solicitor whether this was possible.
We confirmed that Kelvin would stand more chance of a successful outcome if he were to get the support of his supervising police officer. Also, in any application to the court we advised Kelvin to:
- Provide any evidence to show what he’d done to address his offending behaviour
- Explain the positive changes he’d made since his SOPO was given – for example moving to a new area, improving relationships with friends/family
- Demonstrate how he’d fully cooperated with the terms of the SOPO and the Sex Offenders Register.
When we contacted Kelvin several weeks later he confirmed that he’d taken our advice and represented himself at court. His Police Public Protection Officer had fully supported his application and at the court hearing, the judge agreed to discharge the SOPO with immediate effect.
“I didn’t realise that appealing my SOPO was something I was able to do myself. With the advice provided by Unlock and the information they have online, it was a relatively simple process and much cheaper than employing a solicitor to do it on my behalf. The employment world has really opened up for me since my SOPO was discharged as I no longer have to disclose my conviction for the types of jobs I’m applying for”
This case demonstrates how it’s not always necessary to employ the services of a solicitor to discharge or vary a relevant order. The support of the police and evidence showing that he was no longer a risk, meant that Kelvin’s conviction immediately became spent meaning that for the majority of jobs he no longer needed to disclose it.
Notes about this case study
This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.
Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.