For the past 4 years my life has been on pause. I have been heavily relying on the reform to be put into place since 2012 when my goal was to become a Royal Marine Commando in the Royal Navy.

I messed my life up by crashing my car into the centre of an island and the courts slammed me with a 2 year driving ban which I could cope with, 240 hours Community service which is a bit heavy in my opinion and a small fine which I paid immediately after walking out of the courtroom. At the time I was in Full time University and working as a shift manager in a food production company. Being a student I had no escape I had to work in order to live as I can’t depend on family and a student loan was not enough. This unfortunately meant I was too physically exhausted to attend community service and breached 3 times. At the time I did not know how badly this would affect my career opportunities later on in life and haunts me day after day. I got sentenced to a 4 weeks suspended sentence for 12 months and 60 more hours unpaid work (i had 12 hours remaining to complete and my community order would be done).

After a few months I had finished my unpaid work and wondered what to do because I dropped out of university as I could not afford it and I was still unsure about my future, I was underweight, sometimes didn’t eat for near on 2 days and lost two jobs due to my convictions.

I went to my local Navy Careers Office and told them my situation, they told me to get a print out of my offences and conviction so immediately I went to court and bought original documents of my convictions and dropped them into my careers office. They said driving offences are at the discretion of the recruiting officer and they deemed me a suitable potential marine, passed my medical examination and Interview with flying colours even adding I am what they are looking for in a Royal Marine.

After my Interview he looked at my convictions and seen I had a suspended sentence and this became the downfall of my career as a Royal Marine before it had even started. He said there was no way on this earth I would ever be accepted in to the royal navy unless it was spent. He looked at the date at which my conviction would be spent and it is 2019. I will be in my late 20’s when my conviction is spent which is not at all a good time to join the marines.

After soaking that up and wondering where to turn next I joined the Royal Marines forum and looked at the rehabilitation of offenders act thread, which had a link to your website. At first it put a huge amount of hope into me and I was back on my training waiting for the reform to commence in spring 2013, after that didn’t happen I was a bit unhappy but November wasn’t too far away and gave me more time to dedicate to my training and preparation.

November reform has now been cancelled and I must say I am absolutely gutted I cannot move on from that night that totally ruined my life, I am not a bad person, I am polite and respectful to everyone. I do not Drink, smoke or take drugs and seen as an upstanding person who has self reliability, I have depended on myself from the age of 15, being from a normal working class family I have never had the luxury of being looked after financially by mum and dad, if my shoes have holes in them I had to do my paper round, save up and buy some new ones, that’s how my family are to prepare me for the ‘grown-up’ world.

The government need to immediately change the rehabilitation of offenders act not just for normal civilised people who cannot follow their dreams due to a split second accident/mistake but also for people who are bad but want to change, give people another chance to redeem their lives and prove they can be better, we all make mistakes but it is how you bounce back and overcome the down times and improve as a person.

We don’t need to be followed around by a demon stopping us from enjoying the fine qualities of life and the opportunities we have. Being in the Royal Marines is my dream, I will risk my life for queen and country.

By Carl

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