Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act 2008

Search for evidence for use outside State (general).

74.— (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), this section applies to a request for assistance in obtaining evidence for the purposes of criminal proceedings, or a criminal investigation, in a designated state, where there is power under any enactment to issue a warrant for the search of a place in respect of an offence constituted by the conduct giving rise to the request.

(2) This section does not apply to such a request from a member state unless the act is punishable—

(a) under the law of the State and the member state by imprisonment for a maximum period of at least 6 months, or

(b) under the law of the State by such imprisonment and under the law of the member state by virtue of being an infringement of the rules of law which is being prosecuted by the administrative authorities and where the decision may give rise to proceedings before a court having jurisdiction in particular in criminal matters.

(3) This section does not apply to such a request from a designated state (other than a member state) unless the conduct giving rise to the request is punishable under both the law of the State and the law of that state.

(4) The Minister, if of opinion that this section applies to the request, may, subject to subsection (5), send the request and any accompanying and related documents to the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána to arrange for the request to be complied with.

(5) In the case of a request from a designated state, the Minister may not proceed in accordance with subsection (4) unless an assurance is given by the requesting authority—

(a) that any evidence that may be supplied in response to the request will not, without the Minister’s prior consent, be used for any purpose other than that permitted by the relevant international instrument or specified in the request, and

(b) that the evidence will be returned when no longer required for the purpose so specified (or any other purpose for which such consent has been obtained), unless the Minister indicates that its return is not required.

(6) A member of the Garda Síochána shall not enter any place in furtherance of the request without the consent of the occupier or the entry being authorised by a warrant under this section.

(7) Unless the evidence sought is already in the possession of the Garda Síochána, a member of the Garda Síochána not below the rank of inspector shall, on production of a copy of the request and of any accompanying or related documents, apply to the judge of the District Court for the district where the place concerned is situated for a warrant under subsection (8).

(8) If, on the application, the judge is satisfied that this section applies to the request and it appears to him or her that there are reasonable grounds for believing that entry to any place is necessary for the purposes of complying with it, the judge may issue a warrant for the search of the place and any persons found there.

(9) The warrant shall be expressed and operate to authorise a named member of the Garda Síochána, accompanied by such other members or persons or both as the member thinks necessary—

(a) to enter the place named in the warrant at any time or times within one week of the date of its issue, on production, if so requested, of the warrant and, if necessary, by the use of reasonable force,

(b) to search it and any person found there,

(c) to access, examine, seize, take away and retain any material found there, or in the possession of a person present there at the time of the search—

(i) which the member reasonably believes to be evidence of, or relating to, the commission of the offence concerned or assets or proceeds deriving from criminal conduct in the designated state or their identity or whereabouts, or

(ii) whose retention is necessary to comply with the request,

(d) to make a copy of any document so seized and to take the copy away, and

(e) to take such other steps as appear to the member to be necessary for preserving any such material and preventing interference with it.

(10) Where material referred to in subsection (9) consists of or includes information in non-legible form, the warrant has effect as an order to produce the material, or to give access to it, in a form which is legible and in which it can be taken away.

(11) The warrant—

(a) does not confer any right to examine, seize, take away or retain documents which are subject to legal privilege or to have them produced or to be given access to them, and

(b) subject to paragraph (a) and subsection (14), has effect notwithstanding any other obligation as to secrecy or other restriction on the disclosure of information under any enactment or rule of law.

(12) A member acting under the warrant may—

(a) require any person present at the place where the search is being carried out to give his or her name and address to the member, and

(b) arrest without warrant any person who—

(i) obstructs or attempts to obstruct the member in carrying out his or her duties,

(ii) does not comply with a requirement under paragraph (a), or

(iii) gives a name or address which the member has reasonable cause for believing is false or misleading.

(13) A person who—

(a) obstructs or attempts to obstruct a member acting under the authority of a warrant under this section,

(b) does not comply with a requirement under subsection (12)(a), or

(c) gives a false or misleading name or address to a member,

is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €2,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.

(14) Where—

(a) material has been supplied to a Government department or other authority by or on behalf of the government of another state, and

(b) an undertaking was given that the material would be used only for a particular purpose or purposes,

an order under this section does not have the effect of requiring or permitting the production of, or the giving of access to, the material for any other purpose without the consent of that government.

(15) The power to issue a warrant under this section is without prejudice to any other power conferred by statute to issue a warrant for the search of any place or person.

(16) In this section—

“evidence” includes evidence of or relating to assets or proceeds deriving from criminal conduct in the designated state concerned or their identity or whereabouts;

“member state” includes the Swiss Confederation.