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Criminal Justice Act, 1999

Relocated Witnesses.

40.—(1) A person who without lawful authority makes enquiries or takes any other steps whatever, whether within or outside the State, for the purpose of discovering—

(a) the whereabouts of a person whom he or she knows, or reasonably suspects, to be a relocated witness, or

(b) any new name or other particulars related to any new identity provided for such a witness,

shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) A person who without lawful authority discloses, whether within or outside the State, to any other person any information (including information lawfully obtained pursuant to subsection (1)) concerning—

(a) the whereabouts of a person whom he or she knows, or reasonably suspects, to be a relocated witness, or

(b) any new name or other particulars related to any new identity provided for such a person,

shall be guilty of an offence.

(3) In this section “relocated witness” means any person who intends to give or has given evidence in proceedings for an offence and who as a consequence has moved residence, under any programme operated by the Garda Síochána for the protection of witnesses, to any place, whether within or outside the State.

(4) In this section “lawful authority” means the authority of—

(a) a court in any proceedings involving the relocated witness, or

(b) a member of the Garda Síochána not below the rank of chief superintendent.

(5) A court shall give authority pursuant to subsection (1) or (2) only if it is satisfied—

(a) that to do so would be in the interests of justice, and

(b) that another way of proceeding which would not prejudice the continued participation of the relocated witness in the programme aforesaid, including, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the transmission of any documents required to be served on the witness to the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána for the purpose of effecting such service, is not available.

(6) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both, and

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.