Spent conviction

February 1, 2002

Your article, "Fraudster goes unnoticed" ( THES , January 18) implies that the University of Sunderland was to blame for not having uncovered a spent conviction of a new member of staff and that police checking would have uncovered this.

I am very disappointed that the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 have been disregarded. Under this act, the law says that our colleague's conviction is now spent, after a period of rehabilitation, in order to allow her to rebuild her life. Consequently, a police check in this case would have uncovered nothing. She was under no obligation to disclose this information at the time of her application and the university would have been breaking the law to ask if she had any spent convictions.

Our investigations indicate that the damaging claim you make about the New Zealand Psychologists' Board - reporting that it would not register her as a practising psychologist - is not true.

A thorough review of issues regarding this appointment has concluded that no university rules, guidelines, or procedures have been breached.

Based on this evidence, the university intends to take no further action in this matter and expresses its full support for the lecturer involved, who has an excellent academic record and strong references.

Peter Fidler
Vice-chancellor and chief executive
University of Sunderland

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