Communications Regulation (Amendment) Act 2007

10.

Insertion into Principal Act of new Part 2A.

10.— The Principal Act is amended by inserting the following Part after section 38:

“PART 2A

Special Powers to Require Persons to Give Evidence or Produce Documents

Commission may require persons to give evidence or produce documents.

38A.— (1) If the Commission believes on reasonable grounds that a person may be able to give evidence, or to produce a document, that relates to a matter concerning the performance or exercise of any of the Commission’s functions or objectives, it may serve on the person a notice requiring the person to appear before it—

( a) to give evidence about the matter, or

( b) to produce the document for examination.

(2) The notice shall specify—

( a) the matter to which the evidence or document relates, and

( b) the date, time and place at which the person is required to appear before the Commission.

(3) The notice may require the person concerned to appear before a specified Commissioner or a specified member of the Commission’s staff and, if it does so, a reference in this Part to the Commission is to be read as a reference to the Commissioner or staff member concerned.

Conduct of proceeding under this Part.

38B.— (1) A person who appears before the Commission in compliance with a requirement made under section 38A may be required to swear an oath or make an affirmation.

(2) An oath or affirmation must be administered by the Commission.

(3) A person who appears before the Commission under section 38A is entitled to be accompanied by a barrister or solicitor or, with the approval of the Commission, any other person.

Proceeding under this Part to be normally in private.

38C.— (1) Except as provided by this section, evidence to be given, or a document to be produced, to the Commission by a person who appears before it in compliance with a requirement made under section 38A is to be given or produced in private.

(2) If a person who appears before the Commission in compliance with a requirement made under section 38A requests the matter to be dealt with in public, the Commission shall comply with the request.

(3) If the Commission is satisfied that it is desirable in the public interest that the evidence to be given, or the document to be produced, should be given or produced in public, the Commission may direct accordingly.

(4) If the evidence is to be given, or the document is to be produced, in private, the Commission may do either of the following:

( a) give directions as to the persons who may be present during the proceeding;

( b) give directions preventing or restricting the publication of the whole or any part of the evidence or of matters contained in the document.

(5) Nothing in a direction given under subsection (4) may prevent the presence of—

( a) a barrister, solicitor or other person who is representing the person who is appearing before the Commission, or

( b) a Commissioner or a member of the Commission’s staff.

(6) If the evidence is to be given, or the document is to be produced, in private, a person (other than the person required to appear before the Commission, that person’s barrister, solicitor or other representative, a Commissioner or a member of the Commission’s staff) may be present only if entitled to be present because of a direction given under subsection (4)( a).

(7) A person who contravenes subsection (6) commits an offence.

Offence to fail to appear before Commission.

38D.— (1) A person commits an offence if, having been required to appear before the Commission in compliance with a requirement made under section 38A, the person fails to comply with the requirement, and has not been excused, or released from further attendance, by the Commission.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the person has a reasonable excuse.

Offence to refuse to be sworn or to answer question.

38E.— (1) A person appearing before the Commission in compliance with a requirement made under section 38A, commits an offence if the person—

( a) refuses or fails to swear an oath, or to make an affirmation, on being required to do so by the Commission, or

( b) refuses or fails to give evidence in compliance with a requirement made under section 38A, or refuses or fails to answer a question put to the person by the Commission in relation to any such evidence, or

( c) refuses or fails to produce a document that is required to be produced in compliance with such a requirement.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the person has a reasonable excuse.

(3) It is a reasonable excuse for the purposes of subsection (2) for a person to refuse or fail to answer a question on the ground that the answer might tend to incriminate the person or to expose the person to a penalty.

(4) It is a reasonable excuse for the purposes of subsection (2) for a person to refuse or fail to produce a document on the ground that the production of the document might tend to incriminate the person or to expose the person to a penalty.

(5) Subsections (3) and (4) do not limit what is a reasonable excuse for the purposes of subsection (2).

Protection of persons appearing before Commission under section 38A.

38F.— Subject to this Part, a person who appears before the Commission in compliance with a requirement made under section 38A has the same protection, and is, in addition to the offences under this Part, subject to the same liabilities, as a witness in proceedings in the High Court.

Payment of allowances and expenses to persons who appear before Commission.

38G.— (1) A person who appears before the Commission in compliance with a requirement made under section 38A is entitled to be paid such allowances and travelling or other expenses as are payable to or in respect of a witness attending in civil proceedings before the High Court.

(2) All allowances and expenses payable under subsection (1) are payable by the Commission.

Trial of offences under this Part.

38H.— (1) An offence under this Part is triable summarily.

(2) A person found guilty of an offence under this Part is liable to a fine not exceeding €5,000.”.