Falklands veteran Simon Weston welcomes CRB verdict


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The Independent Online

Falklands veteran Simon Weston, who had to pull out of a police commissioner election because he had broken the law at 14, has welcomed the Court of Appeal ruling on criminal record checks.

Mr Weston, who was fined as a teenager for being a passenger in a stolen car, said the current legislation would lead to "so many good people" being written off and was pleased that "legal minds agree".

The 51-year-old said he withdrew from the elections for the £100,000-a-year job of police and crime commissioner for South Wales after he was "hounded" over the offence.

He said: "I told the truth, then I was getting hounded by one or two people telling me I definitely can't stand. It was when I was 14, I'm 51 now. How long must this mistake haunt my life?"

He went on: "How many people didn't pinch a pack of sweets at the age of 10 or 11-years-old? We all make ridiculous mistakes before we're 16-years-old."

And added: "We're going to write off so many good people."

Mr Weston, a father of three and a former Welsh Guardsman, was badly burned when the RFA Sir Galahad was destroyed in 1982 during the Falklands conflict.

He suffered 46 per cent burns on his body and underwent 70 separate major operations or surgical procedures during a slow recovery.

Mr Weston overcame his injuries and went on to forge a new career as a charity worker, writer of children's books and after dinner speaker.

When he announced his decision to stand in February, he urged others to follow his example to stop ageing politicians taking the roles.

He said: "It was awful to have to stand down, especially when I wanted to represent the people of South Wales.

"I just needed to get to the end of it. I couldn't put up with having people question what I did when I was 14 when I'm now 51.

"If we look at my life and read through my history - haven't I done enough to wash these sins from my hands?"

He said today's ruling proved there were "legal minds that agree" and added that he welcomed that something was being done to "address" the issue.