Criminal Justice Act 2007

30.

Inferences from failure of accused to mention particular facts.

30.— The Act of 1984 is amended by the insertion of the following section after section 19:

“19A.— (1) Where in any proceedings against a person for an arrestable offence evidence is given that the accused—

( a) at any time before he or she was charged with the offence, on being questioned by a member of the Garda Síochána in relation to the offence, or

( b) when being charged with the offence or informed by a member of the Garda Síochána that he or she might be prosecuted for it,

failed to mention any fact relied on in his or her defence in those proceedings, being a fact which in the circumstances existing at the time clearly called for an explanation from him or her when so questioned, charged or informed, as the case may be, then, the court, in determining whether a charge should be dismissed under Part IA of the Criminal Procedure Act 1967 or whether there is a case to answer and the court (or, subject to the judge’s directions, the jury) in determining whether the accused is guilty of the offence charged (or of any other offence of which he or she could lawfully be convicted on that charge) may draw such inferences from the failure as appear proper; and the failure may, on the basis of such inferences, be treated as, or as capable of amounting to, corroboration of any evidence in relation to which the failure is material.

(2) A person shall not be convicted of an offence solely or mainly on an inference drawn from a failure to mention a fact to which subsection (1) applies.

(3) Subsection (1) shall not have effect unless—

( a) the accused was told in ordinary language when being questioned, charged or informed, as the case may be, what the effect of the failure to mention a fact to which that subsection applies might be, and

( b) the accused was afforded a reasonable opportunity to consult a solicitor before such failure occurred.

(4) Nothing in this section shall, in any proceedings—

( a) prejudice the admissibility in evidence of the silence or other reaction of the accused in the face of anything said in his or her presence relating to the conduct in respect of which he or she is charged in so far as evidence thereof would be admissible apart from this section, or

( b) be taken to preclude the drawing of any inference from the silence or other reaction of the accused which could properly be drawn apart from this section.

(5) The court (or, subject to the judge’s directions, the jury) shall, for the purposes of drawing an inference under this section, have regard to when the fact concerned was first mentioned by the accused.

(6) This section shall not apply in relation to the questioning of a person by a member of the Garda Síochána unless it is recorded by electronic or similar means or the person consents in writing to it not being so recorded.

(7) Subject to section 7 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996 and section 5 of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998, this section shall not apply in relation to a failure to mention a fact if the failure occurred before the commencement of this section.

(8) References in subsection (1) to evidence shall, in relation to the hearing of an application under Part IA of the Criminal Procedure Act 1967 for the dismissal of a charge, be taken to include a statement of the evidence to be given by a witness at the trial.

(9) In this section ‘arrestable offence’ has the meaning it has in section 2 (as amended by section 8 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006) of the Criminal Law Act 1997.”.