Ombudsman (Defence Forces) Act 2004

Production of document, information, etc.

8

8.—(1) ( a) Subject to paragraphs (b) and (c), the Ombudsman may, for the purposes of a preliminary examination or an investigation under this Act require any person who, in his or her opinion, is in possession of information, or has a document, part of a document or thing in his or her power or control, that is relevant to the preliminary examination or investigation to furnish that information, document, part of a document or thing to the Ombudsman and, where appropriate, may require that person to attend before him or her for that purpose and the person shall comply with the requirements.

( b) Paragraph (a) shall not apply to information, a document, part of a document or thing that relates to decisions and proceedings of the Government or of any committee of the Government and for the purposes of this paragraph a certificate given by the Secretary General to the Government certifying that any information, document, part of a document or thing so relates shall be conclusive.

( c) Paragraph (a) shall not apply to information, a document, part of a document or thing that concerns any matter relating to security or a military operation and for the purposes of this paragraph a certificate given by the Minister, on the advice of the Chief of Staff, certifying that any information, document, part of a document or thing was so concerned shall be conclusive.

(2) Subject to this Act, a person to whom a requirement is addressed under this section shall be entitled to the same immunities and privileges as if he or she were a witness before the High Court.

(3) A person shall not by act or omission obstruct or hinder the Ombudsman in the performance of his or her functions or do any other thing which would, if the Ombudsman were a court having power to commit for contempt of court, be contempt of such court.

(4) Any obligation to maintain secrecy or other restriction on the disclosure of information obtained by or furnished to a Department of State or civil servant imposed by the Official Secrets Act 1963 shall not apply to a preliminary examination or an investigation by the Ombudsman under this Act and, subject to section 10(3), the State shall not be entitled in relation to any such preliminary examination or investigation to any such privilege in respect of the production of documents or the giving of evidence as is allowed by law in legal proceedings.

(5) The Ombudsman may, if he or she thinks fit, pay to the person affected by an action in respect of which an investigation is held by the Ombudsman and to any other person who attends or furnishes information for the purposes of the investigation—

( a) sums in respect of travelling and subsistence expenses properly incurred by them, and

( b) allowances by way of compensation for loss of their time, of such amount as may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, be prescribed by the Minister.

(6) A statement or admission made by a person in a preliminary examination or an investigation under this Act shall not be admissible as evidence against that person in any criminal proceedings.

(7) Nothing in subsection (3) shall be construed as applying to the taking of any such action as is mentioned in section 4(5) of this Act.

(8) In this section "Chief of Staff” has the meaning assigned to it by the Act of 1954.