Proving of foreign convictions before courts
653.Section 73 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 enables convictions (or acquittals) for offences in the UK to be proved by means of a certificate of conviction (or acquittal) signed by the proper officer of the court. At present, overseas convictions are proved under section 7 of the Evidence Act 1851, which requires that the judgment either be sealed by the foreign court or signed by the judge of the foreign court. Paragraph 13 of Schedule 15 amends section 73 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 so as to extend the procedures for proving convictions or acquittals in other member States of the European Union by way of certificates signed by the proper officer of the court.
654.Section 74 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 provides that the fact that a person other than the accused has been convicted of an offence by a UK court, or a service court, is admissible in evidence for the purpose of proving that that person committed the offence. It also provides that where a person other than the accused is proved to have been convicted of an offence by or before a UK court or a service court, he or she must be taken to have committed that offence unless the contrary is proved; and it establishes a presumption that any person convicted of an offence in the UK actually committed it. Paragraph 14 amends section 74 so that convictions for offences in other European Union member States are treated in the same way as UK convictions.
655.Section 75 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 makes certain documents, such as the charge-sheet, admissible as evidence of the facts on which a conviction was based for the purposes of section 74. It also provides that a copy of a document which is purported to be certified or authenticated by or on behalf of the court or authority having custody of that document, where the document is admissible under this section, is to be taken to be a true copy of that document unless the contrary is proved. Paragraph 15 amends section 75 to extend these provisions to documents relating to convictions in other European Union member States.
656.Sections 73 to 75 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 extend to England and Wales only. Equivalent provision to sections 73 to 75 is made for Northern Ireland in the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989.
657.Paragraphs 16 to 18 make similar amendments to the 1989 Order as are provided by paragraphs 13 to 15 for the 1984 Act.