In October 2001 I was convicted of “permitting premises to be used for producing cannabis” under Section 8 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. At the time, I was living with my partner and children in a relationship where domestic violence was occurring. On one occasion my partner assaulted me while he was drunk and I had to ring the police. My partner had cannabis plants growing in a wardrobe in the bedroom. When the police attended the property they had a look round, found the plants, and we were both arrested. He was charged with production of cannabis and received a fine. At the time, I was offered a caution – which I refused as I couldn’t stop him doing what he was doing. Anyway, the matter went to court and the magistrate argued that, even though I was in a violent and abusive relationship, I could have reported him to the police. I was stuck in a no-win situation. If I had reported him he would have battered me. I received a twelve month conditional discharge and a fine.
I left him shortly after that and have lived on my own with my children ever since. He is an alcoholic who is in and out of rehab, the children and I have nothing to do with him. I have been back into education, got a good job and bought my own house. I even got onto a teaching course and have been a teacher for a number of years now. I haven’t been in trouble with the police since 2001.
When the new filtering guidelines came out I thought I could put this matter behind me, but ‘permitting’ is on the list of serious offences, and so it is not filtered out of a DBS check. I don’t think production of cannabis is on the list, so that makes my conviction more serious than his, even though he was the one that cultivated the plants and got all the equipment.
I feel my life is blighted forever. I can’t face applying for new jobs as it is so, so degrading to have to bare my soul and reveal my past to colleagues and people I have to work with on a daily basis. What’s the point of a filtering list if I haven’t committed another offence in eleven years but my ‘crime’ will never be filtered? Do you think that the list can be challenged?