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CRIMINAL JUSTICE (THEFT AND FRAUD OFFENCES) ACT, 2001
Investigation of Offences
48. —(1) This section applies to an offence under any provision of this Act for which a person of full age and capacity and not previously convicted may be punished by imprisonment for a term of five years or by a more severe penalty and to an attempt to commit any such offence.
(2) A judge of the District Court, on hearing evidence on oath given by a member of the Garda Síochána, may, if he or she is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that evidence of, or relating to the commission of, an offence to which this section applies is to be found in any place, issue a warrant for the search of that place and any persons found there.
(3) A warrant under this section shall be expressed and shall operate to authorise a named member of the Garda Síochána, alone or accompanied by such other persons as may be necessary—
(a) to enter, within 7 days from the date of issuing of the warrant (if necessary by the use of reasonable force), the place named in the warrant,
(b) to search it and any persons found there,
(c) to examine, seize and retain any thing found there, or in the possession of a person present there at the time of the search, which the member reasonably believes to be evidence of or relating to the commission of an offence to which this section applies, and
(d) to take any other steps which may appear to the member to be necessary for preserving any such thing and preventing interference with it.
(4) The authority conferred by subsection (3)(c) to seize and retain any thing includes, in the case of a document or record, authority—
(a) to make and retain a copy of the document or record, and
(b) where necessary, to seize and, for as long as necessary, retain any computer or other storage medium in which any record is kept.
(5) A member of the Garda Síochána acting under the authority of a warrant under this section may—
(a) operate any computer at the place which is being searched or cause any such computer to be operated by a person accompanying the member for that purpose, and
(b) require any person at that place who appears to the member to have lawful access to the information in any such computer—
(i) to give to the member any password necessary to operate it,
(ii) otherwise to enable the member to examine the information accessible by the computer in a form in which the information is visible and legible, or
(iii) to produce the information in a form in which it can be removed and in which it is, or can be made, visible and legible.
(6) Where a member of the Garda Síochána has entered premises in the execution of a warrant issued under this section, he may seize and retain any material, other than items subject to legal privilege, which is likely to be of substantial value (whether by itself or together with other material) to the investigation for the purpose of which the warrant was issued.
(7) The power to issue a warrant under this section is in addition to and not in substitution for any other power to issue a warrant for the search of any place or person.
(8) In this section, unless the context otherwise requires—
“commission”, in relation to an offence, includes an attempt to commit the offence;
“computer at the place which is being searched” includes any other computer, whether at that place or at any other place, which is lawfully accessible by means of that computer;
“place” includes a dwelling;
“thing” includes an instrument (within the meaning of Part 4), a copy of such instrument, a document or a record.
Obstruction of Garda acting on warrant.
49. —(1) A person who—
(a) obstructs or attempts to obstruct a member of the Garda Síochána acting under the authority of a warrant issued under this Part, or
(b) is found in or at the place named in the warrant by a member of the Garda Síochána so acting and fails or refuses to give the member his or her name and address when required by the member to do so or gives the member a name and address that is false or misleading, or
(c) fails without lawful authority or excuse to comply with a requirement under paragraph (b) or section 48 (5)(b),
is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.
(2) A member of the Garda Síochána may arrest without warrant any person who is committing an offence under this section or whom the member suspects, with reasonable cause, of having done so.
Forfeiture of seized property.
50. —(1) This section applies to any thing which has been seized by a member of the Garda Síochána (whether the seizure was effected by virtue of a warrant under section 48 or otherwise) and which the member suspects to be—
(a) any thing used (whether before or after the commencement of this section), or intended to be used, for the making of any false instrument, or any copy of a false instrument, in contravention of section 25 or 27 respectively,
(b) any false instrument or any copy of a false instrument used (whether before or after the commencement of this section), or intended to be so used, in contravention of section 26 or 28 respectively,
(c) any thing the custody or control of which, without lawful authority or excuse, is an offence under section 29 ,
(d) any thing which is a counterfeit of a currency note or coin,
(e) any thing used, whether before or after the commencement of this section, or intended to be used, for the making of any such counterfeit.
(2) A member of the Garda Síochána may, at any time after the seizure of any thing to which this section applies, apply to the judge of the District Court for the time being assigned to the district in which the seizure was effected for an order under this subsection with respect to it; and the judge may, if satisfied both that the thing is one to which this section applies and that it is in the public interest to do so, subject to subsection (4), make such order as the judge thinks fit for its forfeiture and subsequent destruction or disposal.
(3) Subject to subsection (4), the court by or before which a person is convicted of an offence under Part 4 or 5 may order any thing shown to the satisfaction of the court to relate to the offence to be forfeited and either destroyed or dealt with in such other manner as the court may order.
(4) The court shall not order any thing to be forfeited under subsection (3) or (4) where a person claiming to be the owner of or otherwise interested in it applies to be heard by the court, unless an opportunity has been given to the person to show cause why the order should not be made.
Concealing facts disclosed by documents.
51. —(1) Any person who—
(a) knows or suspects that an investigation by the Garda Síochána into an offence under this Act is being or is likely to be carried out, and
(b) falsifies, conceals, destroys or otherwise disposes of a document or record which he or she knows or suspects is or would be relevant to the investigation or causes or permits its falsification, concealment, destruction or disposal,
is guilty of an offence.
(2) Where a person—
(a) falsifies, conceals, destroys or otherwise disposes of a document, or
(b) causes or permits its falsification, concealment, destruction or disposal,
in such circumstances that it is reasonable to conclude that the person knew or suspected—
(i) that an investigation by the Garda Síochána into an offence under this Act was being or was likely to be carried out, and
(ii) that the document was or would be relevant to the investigation,
he or she shall be taken for the purposes of this section to have so known or suspected, unless the court or the jury, as the case may be, is satisfied having regard to all the evidence that there is a reasonable doubt as to whether he or she so knew or suspected.
(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.
Order to produce evidential material.
52. —(1) This section applies to any offence under this Act which is punishable by imprisonment for a term of five years or by a more severe penalty.
(2) A judge of the District Court, on hearing evidence on oath given by a member of the Garda Síochána, may, if he or she is satisfied that—
(a) the Garda Síochána are investigating an offence to which this section applies,
(b) a person has possession or control of particular material or material of a particular description, and
(c) there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the material constitutes evidence of or relating to the commission of the offence,
order that the person shall—
(i) produce the material to a member of the Garda Síochána for the member to take away, or
(ii) give such a member access to it,
either immediately or within such period as the order may specify.
(3) Where the material consists of or includes information contained in a computer, the order shall have effect as an order to produce the information, or to give access to it, in a form in which it is visible and legible and in which it can be taken away.
(4) An order under this section—
(a) in so far as it may empower a member of the Garda Síochána to take away a document, or to be given access to it, shall also have effect as an order empowering the member to take away a copy of the document (and for that purpose the member may, if necessary, make a copy of the document),
(b) shall not confer any right to production of, or access to, any document subject to legal privilege, and
(c) shall have effect notwithstanding any other obligation as to secrecy or other restriction on disclosure of information imposed by statute or otherwise.
(5) Any material taken away by a member of the Garda Síochána, under this section may be retained by the member for use as evidence in any criminal proceedings.
(6) (a) Information contained in a document which was produced to a member of the Garda Síochána, or to which such a member was given access, in accordance with an order under this section shall be admissible in any criminal proceedings as evidence of any fact therein of which direct oral evidence would be admissible unless the information—
(i) is privileged from disclosure in such proceedings,
(ii) was supplied by a person who would not be compellable to give evidence at the instance of the prosecution,
(iii) was compiled for the purposes or in contemplation of any—
(I) criminal investigation,
(II) investigation or inquiry carried out pursuant to or under any enactment,
(III) civil or criminal proceedings, or
(IV) proceedings of a disciplinary nature,
or unless the requirements of the provisions mentioned in paragraph (b) are not complied with.
(b) References in sections 7 (notice of documentary evidence to be served on accused), 8 (admission and weight of documentary evidence) and 9 (admissibility of evidence as to credibility of supplier of information) of the Criminal Evidence Act, 1992 , to a document or information contained in it shall be construed as including references to a document mentioned in paragraph (a) and the information contained in it, and those provisions shall have effect accordingly with any necessary modifications.
(c) The Criminal Procedure Act, 1967 , is amended both in section 6(1)(e) (as amended by section 10 of the Criminal Evidence Act, 1992 ) and in section 11 (as so amended) by the insertion, after “1992”, of “or section 52 (6)(b) of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001,”.
(7) A judge of the District Court may, on the application of any person to whom an order under this section relates or a member of the Garda Síochána, vary or discharge the order.
(8) A person who without reasonable excuse fails or refuses to comply with an order under this section is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both.