Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act 2008

32.

Freezing order relating to evidence.

32.— (1) This section applies where criminal proceedings have been instituted, or a criminal investigation is taking place, in the State.

(2) Where this section applies, the Director of Public Prosecutions or a member of the Garda Síochána not below the rank of inspector may apply ex parte and otherwise than in public to a judge of the High Court for an order (a “freezing order”) prohibiting the destruction, transformation, moving, transfer, disposal or use by any person of specified property, whether in or outside the State, that could be evidence in those proceedings or, as the case may be, in any such proceedings that may be instituted.

(3) The judge may make the order applied for if satisfied—

( a) that criminal proceedings have been instituted or a criminal investigation is taking place,

( b) that evidence relating to the offence concerned—

(i) is on specified premises,

(ii) is likely to be of substantial value (whether by itself or together with other evidence) to the proceedings or investigation, and

(iii) is likely to be admissible at a trial for the offence,

and

( c) in case the evidence is in a designated state, that a request has been or will be made for it to be transferred to the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána.

(4) An order under this section does not apply in relation to any documents subject to legal privilege.

(5) The High Court may vary or discharge an order under this section on application by—

( a) a member of the Garda Síochána not below the rank of inspector, or

( b) any person affected by it,

and shall discharge it if its continuance in force would not be in the interests of justice.

(6) If—

( a) an order under this section is transmitted for enforcement in a designated state pursuant to F19 [ section 33 ] , and

( b) the order is later varied or discharged in relation to property in the designated state,

the Court shall cause the Central Authority to be informed as soon as practicable of the variation or discharge, and that Authority shall thereupon notify the appropriate authority in the designated state accordingly.