Criminal Justice Act, 1984

Inferences from Accused's Failure to Account for Certain Matters

Inferences from failure, refusal to account for objects, marks, etc.

18.—(1) Where—

(a) a person is arrested without warrant by a member of the Garda Síochána, and there is—

(i) on his person, or

(ii) in or on his clothing or footwear, or

(iii) otherwise in his possession, or

(iv) in any place in which he is at the time of his arrest

any object, substance or mark, or there is any mark on any such object, and the member reasonably believes that the presence of the object, substance or mark may be attributable to the participation of the person arrested in the commission of the offence in respect of which he was arrested, and

(b) the member informs the person arrested that he so believes, and requests him to account for the presence of the object, substance or mark, and

(c) the person fails or refuses to do so,

then if, in any proceedings against the person for the offence, evidence of the said matters is given, the court, in determining whether to send forward the accused for trial or whether there is a case to answer and the court (or, subject to the judge's directions, the jury) in determining whether the accused is guilty of the offence charged (or of any other offence of which he could lawfully be convicted on that charge) may draw such inferences from the failure or refusal as appear proper; and the failure or refusal may, on the basis of such inferences, be treated as, or as capable of amounting to, corroboration of any other evidence in relation to which the failure or refusal is material, but a person shall not be convicted of an offence solely on an inference drawn from such failure or refusal.

(2) References in subsection (1) to evidence shall, in relation to the preliminary examination of a charge, be taken to include a statement of the evidence to be given by a witness at the trial.

(3) Subsection (1) shall apply to the condition of clothing or footwear as it applies to a substance or mark thereon.

(4) Subsection (1) shall not have effect unless the accused was told in ordinary language by the member of the Garda Síochána when making the request mentioned in subsection (1) (b) what the effect of the failure or refusal might be.

(5) Nothing in this section shall be taken to preclude the drawing of any inference from a failure or refusal to account for the presence of an object, substance or mark or from the condition of clothing or footwear which could properly be drawn apart from this section.

(6) This section shall not apply in relation to a failure or refusal if the failure or refusal occurred before the commencement of this section.