Criminal Justice Act 2006
Anonymity of certain witnesses.
181.— (1) Where in any criminal proceedings—
( a) it is proposed to call a person to give evidence, and
( b) the person has a medical condition,
an application may be made for an order under this section prohibiting the publication of any matter relating to the proceedings which would identify the person as a person having that condition.
(2) An application for such an order may be made at any stage of the proceedings and shall be made—
( a) in case the accused person has been sent forward for trial, to the trial judge,
( b) in case the proceedings are proceedings on appeal, to the judge, or a judge, of the appeal court,
( c) in any other case, to a judge of the District Court.
(3) An order under this section may be made only where the judge concerned is satisfied that—
( a) the person concerned has a medical condition,
( b) his or her identification as a person with that condition would be likely to cause undue distress to him or her, and
( c) the order would not be prejudicial to the interests of justice.
(4) An appeal from a refusal or grant of an application for an order under this section shall lie—
( a) in relation to proceedings before the District Court, to a judge of the Circuit Court,
( b) in relation to proceedings before the Circuit Criminal Court or a Special Criminal Court, to a judge of the High Court, and
F34 [ (c) in relation to proceedings before the Central Criminal Court, to a judge of the Court of Appeal, ]
at the instance of the prosecution or the defence.
( a) an accused person is sent forward for trial, and
( b) an order has been made by a judge of the District Court under this section,
the trial judge may, on application made in that behalf, vary or revoke the order.
( a) an appeal is being taken against a decision of a court in criminal proceedings, and
( b) the trial judge has made an order under this section,
the judge, or a judge, of the appeal court may, on application made in that behalf, vary or revoke the order.
(7) An application under this section, or an appeal under subsection (4) , may be made by the prosecution or the defence on notice to the other party to the proceedings and shall be made to the judge concerned in chambers.
(8) Each of the following persons who publishes or broadcasts any matter in contravention of an order under this section is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €25,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both:
( a) if the matter is published in a newspaper or periodical, any proprietor, editor or publisher of the newspaper or periodical;
( b) if the matter is published otherwise, the person who publishes it; or
( c) if the matter is broadcast, any person transmitting or providing the programme in which the broadcast is made and any person having functions in relation to the programme corresponding to those of an editor of a newspaper.
(9) Where a person is charged with an offence under subsection (8) , it is a defence to prove that at the time of the alleged offence the person was not aware, and neither suspected nor had any reason to suspect, that the publication or broadcast concerned was of any such matter as is mentioned in subsection (1) .
(10) ( a) Where an offence under subsection (8) has been committed by a body corporate and it is proved to have been so committed with the consent or connivance of or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of any person who, when the offence was committed, was a director, manager, secretary or other officer of the body corporate, or a person purporting to act in any such capacity, that person, as well as the body corporate, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished as if he or she were guilty of the first-mentioned offence.
( b) Where the affairs of a body corporate are managed by its members, paragraph (a) shall apply in relation to the acts and defaults of a member in connection with the functions of management as if he or she were a director or manager of the body corporate.
(11) In this section—
“broadcast” means the transmission, relaying or distribution by wireless telegraphy of communications, sounds, visual images or signals, intended for reception by the public generally or a section of it, whether the broadcast is so received or not, and cognate words shall be construed accordingly;
“publish” means publish, other than by way of broadcast, to the public generally or a section of it;
“trial judge” and “judge”, in relation to proceedings before a Special Criminal Court, means a member of that Court, and the references in subsections (2) (a) and (5) (a) to an accused person being sent forward for trial include, where appropriate, references to such a person being charged before that Court.