Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act 2008


Search for evidence at place in designated state.

73.— (1) Where it appears to a judge at a sitting of any court that—

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

( b) evidence for the purposes of the proceedings or investigation may be obtained at a place in a designated state,

the judge may, in accordance with the relevant international instrument, issue a letter (a “letter of request”) requesting assistance in obtaining the evidence.

(2) Application for a letter of request may be made by the Director of Public Prosecutions or a person charged in any such proceedings that have been instituted.

(3) The letter of request shall be sent to—

( a) the Central Authority for transmission to the appropriate authority, or

( b) in urgent cases, directly to that authority.

(4) Notwithstanding subsections (1) to (3), where proceedings for an offence have been instituted or an offence is being investigated, the Director of Public Prosecutions may issue and transmit a letter of request directly to the appropriate authority.

(5) The letter of request shall include—

( a) a statement that the evidence is required for the purpose of criminal proceedings or a criminal investigation and will be returned to the appropriate authority when no longer required for that purpose, unless the authority indicates otherwise,

( b) information relating to the nature and location of the evidence concerned,

( c) a brief description of the conduct constituting the offence concerned, and

( d) any other available information that may assist the appropriate authority in complying with the letter of request.

(6) Evidence obtained by virtue of this section shall not, without the consent of the appropriate authority, be used for any purpose other than that permitted by the relevant international instrument or specified in the letter of request.

(7) When any such evidence is no longer required for that purpose (or for any other purpose for which such consent has been obtained), it shall be returned to the appropriate authority unless the authority indicates that it need not be returned.

(8) In any proceedings relating to the offence—

( a) evidence (other than documentary evidence) which purports—

(i) to have been obtained as a result of a request under this section, and

(ii) to be certified by or on behalf of the appropriate authority to be such evidence,

is admissible without further proof, and

( b) documentary evidence which purports—

(i) to have been so obtained, and

(ii) to be so certified,

is admissible, without further proof, as evidence of any fact stated in it of which oral evidence would be admissible.

(9) In this section, “appropriate authority” means—

( a) a court or tribunal exercising criminal jurisdiction in the place in a designated state where the evidence referred to in the letter of request is to be obtained, or

( b) any other body or authority recognised by the government of that state as the appropriate authority for receiving the letter.