First Previous (PART 5 Reports and Records of Commissions)

23 2004

Commissions of Investigation Act 2004

PART 6

Miscellaneous Matters

Privilege of members and persons appointed under section 8 .

42. —The following are absolutely privileged:

(a) documents of a commission (including its interim, final and draft reports), wherever published;

(b) documents of the members of a commission relating to the commission or its functions, wherever published;

(c) documents of persons appointed under section 8 relating to a commission or its functions, wherever published;

(d) statements made in any form by members of a commission or persons appointed under section 8 in performing their functions under this Act and such statements wherever subsequently published.

Dissolution of commissions.

43. —(1) Subject to an order under section 44 (1), a commission is dissolved on the submission of its final report to the specified Minister.

(2) Before the dissolution of a commission, the chairperson or, if the commission consists of only one member, the sole member shall deposit with the specified Minister all evidence received by and all documents created by or for the commission.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) and section 45 “documents created by or for the commission” includes—

(a) records of interviews conducted by persons appointed under section 8 by the chairperson of the commission or, if the commission consists of only one member, by the sole member,

(b) written reports to the commission prepared by those persons, and

(c) statements provided to the commission at the request of those persons in the performance of the function described in section 8 (7)(e).

If a tribunal of inquiry is established.

44. —(1) If a tribunal is established to inquire into a matter all of which is within a commission's terms of reference, the Government shall, by order notified in Iris Oifigiúil, appoint the day on which the commission is to be dissolved.

(2) If a tribunal is established to inquire into only part of the matter that is within a commission's terms of reference, those terms shall be amended either by the specified Minister who set them, or by the Government, to take account of the inquiry.

Commissions' evidence and documents to be available to tribunals.

45. —(1) If a tribunal is established to inquire into a matter all or part of which was within a commission's terms of reference, all evidence received by and all documents created by or for the commission relating to the matter or that part of the matter shall, at the request of any member of the tribunal, be made available to it by—

(a) the specified Minister, if the commission has been dissolved, or

(b) the commission, if not already dissolved.

(2) Nothing in this section prevents a commission whose terms of reference are amended under section 44 (2) from retaining copies of any evidence or documents made available by it to a tribunal of inquiry.

(3) Evidence that is received by a commission in accordance with this Act or with its rules and procedures and that is made available to a tribunal under subsection (1) is deemed to have been received as evidence by the tribunal in accordance with the Tribunals of Inquiries (Evidence) Acts 1921 to 2004.

Protection of identifying information by tribunals.

46. —(1) If any evidence or document made available to a tribunal under section 45 contains information omitted under section 32 (3) from a commission's report because it identifies a person or could reasonably be expected to lead to the identification of a person, the tribunal shall not disclose that information in the course of conducting its inquiry or in its report or otherwise, except—

(a) as authorised under this section, and

(b) then only to the extent necessary for the purposes of its inquiry.

(2) A tribunal may decide to disclose information referred to in subsection (1) (other than information withheld by the commission by virtue of section 12 (2)) if the tribunal—

(a) has notified the person concerned that it proposes to disclose the information,

(b) has given that person an opportunity to comment, by written or oral submissions, on the proposal and has considered the person's comments, if any, and

(c) is satisfied that, in the interests of fair procedures and in order to facilitate the inquiry, it is appropriate to dislose the information.

(3) If a tribunal decides under subsection (2) to disclose information, it shall notify the person concerned of—

(a) its decision, and

(b) the person's right to apply to the Court within the period of 14 days after being notified for an order under subsection (5) prohibiting the disclosure.

(4) A decision to disclose information under this section does not take effect—

(a) until the expiry of the period allowed under this section for applying for an order under subsection (5) prohibiting the disclosure, and

(b) if an application is brought within that period, until the Court determines the application.

(5) On the hearing of an application made within the period specified in subsection (3), the Court may make any order or give any direction it thinks fit, including an order prohibiting the disclosure of the information concerned.

(6) An application under this section for an order prohibiting the disclosure of information may be heard in private if the Court considers it appropriate to do so.

Proceedings in the High Court.

47. —(1) The Court shall give such priority as, having regard to all the circumstances, it reasonably can to the disposal of proceedings in the Court under this Act.

(2) The Superior Court Rules Committee may, with the concurrence of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, make rules to facilitate the giving of effect to subsection (1).

Offences by bodies corporate.

48. —(1) Where a body corporate commits an offence against a provision of this Act, each person who was an officer of the body corporate when the offence was committed is guilty of an offence against this section if it is proved that he or she—

(a) willingly participated in, connived at or consented to the commission of the offence by the body corporate, or

(b) knowing that the body corporate was committing or about to commit that offence, failed to take all reasonably practicable steps to prevent its commission.

(2) A person may be proceeded against for an offence against this section whether or not the body corporate has been proceeded against or been convicted of the offence committed by that body.

(3) A person guilty of an offence against this section is liable to a fine not exceeding the fine for which the body corporate is liable for the offence.

(4) In this section “officer”, in relation to a body corporate, means a director, manager, executive officer, secretary or other person concerned in the management of the body corporate.

Prosecutions.

49. —(1) A prosecution for an offence against this Act may be brought only by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(2) Notwithstanding section 10(4) of the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act 1851 proceedings for an offence against this Act may be instituted at any time within 2 years after the date alleged to be the date on which the offence was committed.

Penalties for offences.

50. —(1) A person, other than a body corporate, guilty of an offence against section 11 , 16(8), 18, 30, 31 or 37 is liable—

(a) on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €3,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €300,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.

(2) A body corporate guilty of an offence against section 11 , 16(8), 18, 30, 31 or 37 is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €3,000, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €300,000.

Expenses.

51. —(1) If the Minister for Finance is the specified Minister in relation to a commission, any expenses incurred by him or her in the administration of this Act shall be paid out of money provided by the Oireachtas.

(2) If any other Minister is the specified Minister in relation to a commission, any expenses incurred by him or her in the administration of this Act shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of money provided by the Oireachtas.