Whenever a person is charged with a criminal offence, the police have the right, under the Identification of Criminals Act, to require the accused person to provide their fingerprints. When the accused person is being released from the police station by way of a promise to appear or an undertaking, it is not uncommon for the police to provide that person with a fingerprint date – a future date for them to return to provide their prints.
Fail to provide prints as set out in any such notice is a criminal offence. Once the Crown has proven that the notice was properly served on the accused person and they have not attended to provide their fingerprints, the onus is on the accused to demonstrate that they had a lawful excuse for not doing so. The determination as to whether something amounts to a lawful excuse will be based on the circumstances surrounding the reason for non-attendance.
The sentence for failing to attend for prints is a maximum of 6 months in custody if the Crown proceeds by summary conviction and a maximum of 2 years in custody if the Crown proceeds by indictment.