(1) Where, following the conviction of any person for an offence or a finding that a charge of an offence has been proved against any person, whether the conviction or finding was before or after the commencement of the Crimes (Amendment) Act 1961:(a) sentence in respect of the conviction was suspended or deferred upon the person entering into a recognizance or, in substitution for sentence in respect of the conviction, the person was required to enter into a recognizance, or no conviction in respect of the finding was made and the person was discharged conditionally on his or her entering into a recognizance, and(b) a period of fifteen years has elapsed since the recognizance was entered into:the conviction or finding shall, where that period expired before the commencement of the Crimes (Amendment) Act 1961, as on and from that commencement, or, where that period expires or has expired after that commencement, as on and from the expiration of that period:(i) without the recognizance having been forfeited during that period or a court having found during that period that the person failed to observe any condition of the recognizance, and(ii) without the person having, during that period, been convicted of an indictable offence on indictment or otherwise or of any other offence punishable by imprisonment or without a finding during that period that a charge of such an indictable or other offence has been proved against the person,(c) be disregarded for all purposes whatsoever, and(d) without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (c), be inadmissible in any criminal, civil or other legal proceedings as being no longer of any legal force or effect.
Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions of this section, any question asked of or concerning that person in or in relation to any criminal, civil or other legal proceedings otherwise than by his or her Australian legal practitioner, his or her agent or other person acting on his or her behalf may be answered as if the conviction or finding had never taken place or the recognizance had never been entered into.(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), where in any criminal, civil or other legal proceedings the person first referred to in that subsection, by himself or herself, his or her Australian legal practitioner, his or her agent or other person acting on his or her behalf, otherwise than in answer to a question that can, in accordance with the last paragraph of that subsection, be answered in the negative, makes an assertion that denies the fact that the conviction or finding took place or that the recognizance was entered into, then the conviction, finding or recognizance is admissible:(a) in those proceedings, as to the character, credit or reputation of the person so referred to,(b) in any prosecution for perjury or false swearing founded on the assertion.
The non-disclosure of the conviction, finding or recognizance in the making or giving of a statement or evidence as to the good character, credit or reputation of the person so referred to shall not of itself be taken, for the purposes of this subsection, to mean that the statement or evidence contains such an assertion.(3) In this section legal proceedings includes any application for a licence, registration, authority, permit or the like under any statute.(4) This section does not affect the operation of section 529 (10), or the operation of section 178 (Convictions, acquittals and other judicial proceedings) of the Evidence Act 1995, for the purposes of section 529 (10).