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Johannes – Google removed links to my name 6 months after my conviction was spent

Johannes contacted our helpline for some advice regarding online information which he felt could potentially stop him from getting a job and moving on with his career in the future.

Johannes explained that he had been convicted of a racially aggravated public order offence after getting drunk during his university’s Freshers Week. He had been videoed shouting a racist comment to another individual as he walked home. The victim had never come forward or made a complaint, but the video footage had been passed to the police by a third party.

Johannes told the Unlock advisor that he couldn’t remember the incident but having seen the video footage in court he was ashamed and disgusted by his actions. He was also extremely worried that due to the nature of the offence, he would be unable to find a job or progress with his career once he had finished his degree.

We advised Johannes that his conviction was now spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) and that he should apply to Google (and other search engines) to request that the links to his name be removed. This meant that anybody carrying out a random search on his name would not come across the story. We explained the key points that we thought he should include in any request.

A couple of weeks later, Johannes contacted us to let us know that Google had agreed to delist the article.


Once a conviction is spent under the ROA, the majority of employers are not legally entitled to know about it. However, where information such as Johannes’ appears online, employers who carry out ‘soft’ searches can find out about and use details of spent convictions to assist them in making recruitment decisions.


We have information on the ‘google-effect’, internet search results and the right to be forgotten in the information and advice section of our website.

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.

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