Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013

57.

Forfeiture — equipment, animal product, etc.

57.—(1) Where an authorised officer has reasonable grounds for believing that an offence under this Act has been or is being committed, any animal product or animal feed or any vehicle, vessel, aircraft, equipment or machinery used in connection with an animal, animal product or animal feed, which has come into the possession of the officer in respect of the offence, and on the application before the appropriate court of—

( a) the Minister,

( b) the local authority in whose functional area the offence is alleged to have been or is being committed, or

( c) where criminal proceedings for an offence under this Act have been instituted, the person who instituted the proceedings,

the court may, at its discretion if it is satisfied that an offence has been committed (whether or not any person has been convicted of the offence) order the forfeiture to the Minister of the animal product, animal feed, vessel, vehicle, aircraft, equipment or machinery, as the case may be.

(2) Where, in relation to an application under this section to the District Court, that court becomes of the opinion during the hearing of the application that—

( a) the estimated value of the animal product, animal feed, vessel, vehicle, aircraft, equipment or machinery to be forfeited will exceed €10,000, or

( b) for any reason it should decline jurisdiction,

it may transfer the application to the Circuit Court or the High Court, whichever it considers appropriate having regard to the estimated value of the animal product, animal feed, equipment or machinery subject to the application or to such other matters that it considers appropriate.

(3) Where, in relation to an application under this section to the Circuit Court, that court becomes of opinion during the hearing of the application that—

( a) the estimated value of the animal product, animal feed, vessel, vehicle, aircraft, equipment or machinery to be forfeited will exceed €50,000, or

( b) for any reason it should decline jurisdiction,

it may transfer the application to the High Court.

(4) An application under this section shall be brought in a summary manner.

(5) A court shall not make an order under this section unless the court is satisfied that in the circumstances all practicable measures have been taken to notify any person of the proceedings relating to the application for the order and who, in the opinion of the court, should be given the opportunity of being heard by it on that application.

(6) A court may make an order under this section as to the costs of the parties to, or heard by the court in, proceedings relating to an application for an order under this section as it considers appropriate.

(7) Anything ordered to be forfeited under subsection (1) shall be disposed of as the Minister, local authority or other person concerned considers appropriate.

(8) In this section—

“appropriate court” means the High Court and, in relation to a forfeiture or proposed forfeiture—

( a) where the estimated value of animal product, animal feed, vessel, vehicle, aircraft, equipment or machinery to be forfeited does not exceed €10,000, the District Court, in the District Court District, or

( b) where the estimated value of animal product, animal feed, vessel, vehicle, aircraft, equipment or machinery to be forfeited does not exceed €50,000, the Circuit Court, in the Circuit Court area,

in which the offence is alleged to have been committed;

“estimated value”, in relation to a thing sought to be forfeited, means the estimated amount of money which, in the opinion of the court, a willing purchaser would pay to a willing seller if the thing could be sold legally less deductions for—

( a) the estimated costs incidental to the sale, and

( b) the estimated amount of any tax or duty owing to the State in respect of that thing,

and when it cannot be sold legally then the value, if any, that the court considers appropriate.