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Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) (Amendment) Act, 1979

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Number 3 of 1979


TRIBUNALS OF INQUIRY (EVIDENCE) (AMENDMENT) ACT, 1979


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Section

1.

Interpretation.

2.

Membership of tribunals and assessors.

3.

Amendment of section 1 of Principal Act.

4.

Orders of tribunals.

5.

Non-admissibility in criminal proceedings of evidence given to tribunals.

6.

Costs.

7.

Short title and collective citation.

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Number 3 of 1979


TRIBUNALS OF INQUIRY (EVIDENCE) (AMENDMENT) ACT, 1979


AN ACT TO AMEND THE TRIBUNALS OF INQUIRY (EVIDENCE) ACT, 1921. [27th February, 1979]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:

Interpretation.

1.In this Act—

the Principal Act” means the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act, 1921;

a tribunal” means a tribunal to which the Principal Act is applied under section 1 of that Act.

Membership of tribunals and assessors.

2.(1) A tribunal may consist of one or more than one person sitting with or without an assessor or assessors appointed by the instrument appointing the tribunal or any instrument supplemental thereto.

(2) An assessor appointed under this section shall not be a member of the tribunal in relation to which he is so appointed.

Amendment of section 1 of Principal Act.

3.The Principal Act is hereby amended by the substitution of the following subsections for subsection (2) of section 1:

“(2) If a person—

(a) on being duly summoned as a witness before a tribunal, without just cause or excuse disobeys the summons, or

(b) being in attendance as a witness refuses to take an oath or to make an affirmation when legally required by the tribunal to do so, or to produce any documents (which word shall be construed in this subsection and in subsection (1) of this section as including things) in his power or control legally required by the tribunal to be produced by him, or to answer any question to which the tribunal may legally require an answer, or

(c) wilfully gives evidence to a tribunal which is material to the inquiry to which the tribunal relates and which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true, or

(d) by act or omission, obstructs or hinders the tribunal in the performance of its functions, or

(e) fails, neglects or refuses to comply with the provisions of an order made by the tribunal, or

(f) does or omits to do any other thing and if such doing or omission would, if the tribunal had been the High Court, have been contempt of that Court,

the person shall be guilty of an offence.

(2A) (a) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding £10,000 or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(b) A justice of the District Court shall have jurisdiction to try summarily an offence under this section if—

(i) the justice is of opinion that the facts proved or alleged against a defendant charged with such an offence constitute a minor offence fit to be tried summarily,

(ii) the Director of Public Prosecutions consents, and

(iii) the defendant (on being informed by the justice of his right to be tried by a jury) does not object to being tried summarily,

and, upon conviction under this paragraph, the said defendant shall be liable to a fine not exceeding £500 or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(c) Section 13 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1967 , shall apply in relation to an offence under this section as if, in lieu of the penalties specified in subsection (3) of that section there were specified therein the penalties provided for by paragraph (b) of this subsection, and the reference in subsection (2) (a) of that section to the penalties provided for in subsection (3) of that section shall be construed accordingly.”

Orders of tribunals.

4.A tribunal may make such orders as it considers necessary for the purposes of its functions, and it shall have, in relation to their making, all such powers, rights and privileges as are vested in the High Court or a judge of that Court in respect of the making of orders.

Non-admissibility in criminal proceedings of evidence given to tribunals.

5.A statement or admission made by a person before a tribunal or when being examined in pursuance of a commission or request issued under subsection (1) of section 1 of the Principal Act shall not be admissible as evidence against that person in any criminal proceedings (other than proceedings in relation to an offence under subsection (2) (c) (inserted by this Act) of that section) and subsection (3) of that section shall be construed and have effect accordingly.

Costs.

6.(1) Where a tribunal, or, if the tribunal consists of more than one member, the chairman of the tribunal, is of opinion that, having regard to the findings of the tribunal and all other relevant matters, there are sufficient reasons rendering it equitable to do so, the tribunal or the chairman, as the case may be, may by order direct that the whole or part of the costs of any person appearing before the tribunal by counsel or solicitor, as taxed by a Taxing Master of the High Court, shall be paid to the person by any other person named in the order.

(2) Any sum payable pursuant to an order under this section shall be recoverable as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.

(3) Any sum payable by the Minister for Finance pursuant to an order under this section shall be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.

Short title and collective citation.

7.(1) This Act may be cited as the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) (Amendment) Act, 1979.

(2) The Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act, 1921, and this Act may be cited together as the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Acts, 1921 and 1979.

Acts Referred to

Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act, 1921

1921, c. 7

Criminal Procedure Act, 1967

1967, No. 12