Men who were convicted under the now-repealed Section 377A of the Penal Code in Singapore can now check if their criminal records have been rendered spent and, if not, apply for their records to be treated as such.
Section 377A, which criminalized sex between men, was repealed in November 2022 after years of debate.
In a written parliamentary response, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam stated that when considering these applications, the Commissioner of Police will take into account the facts of the case, including whether the activity was private and between consenting adults.
A spent conviction means that the individual will no longer have a criminal record for the spent offence, and they can lawfully answer “no” if asked about having a criminal record.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 17 individuals who were convicted between 1988 and 2007 over consensual, private, homosexual acts between adults are still alive.
Mr. Shanmugam noted that a person’s conviction is automatically rendered spent after five years of being crime-free, but not if the person is disqualified under certain conditions in the Registration of Criminals Act, such as being sentenced to more than three months in jail or a fine of SGD 2,000 or more.
Offences under Section 377A carried a punishment of up to two years in jail and are registrable offences. This means that a person who was convicted of such an offence will have a criminal record, unless it is rendered spent.
If someone’s conviction record cannot be automatically rendered spent, they can apply to the Commissioner of Police to have their records treated as spent. Those who wish to make an application can email SPF_Spent_Application@spf.gov.sg with their personal particulars, contact information, and reasons for consideration to treat their conviction record as spent.
Individuals previously convicted under Section 377A can also check whether their records have been rendered spent on the Singapore Police Force (SPF) website.
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