The Criminal Justice Act 2011 ("the 2011 Act") came into effect on 9 August 2011. It introduces new procedures to facilitate Garda access to information and documentation that will assist in the investigation of white collar crime. The 2011 Act makes it an offence for a person not to report to Gardaí information which he knows or believes might be of material assistance in preventing the commission of certain offences or amongst other things securing the conviction of any persons for those relevant offences. The 2011 Act also makes significant amendments in relation to the detention and questioning of suspects.
Under Section 19(1) of the 2011 Act it is an offence for "a person" who has information which he knows or believes might be of material assistance in preventing the commission by another person of a relevant offence or securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any person for a relevant offence and the person fails without reasonable excuse to disclose the information to the Gardaí. Failing to provide such information attracts penalties of a class A fine (maximum ¤5,000) and/ or 12 months imprisonment on summary conviction and an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment not exceeding a period of five years on conviction on indictment. The Gardaí can also arrest you without a warrant if a Garda suspects you are withholding information and detain you for up to 24 hours for questioning.
Approximately 130 separate offences are included in a schedule to the 2011 Act. The broad scope of the "relevant offences" is one of the most controversial aspects of the 2011 Act. These include offences relating to financial activities, company law, fraud, theft, and corruption, such as:-
the offence of financial assistance; offences of an officer of a company pursuant to Section 293 of the Companies Act 1963 when a company has been wound up; offences relating to failure to keep proper books of account; offences relating to recklessly making a statement to a company auditor that is misleading, false or deceptive; offences relating to authorising the issue of a prospectus which contains untrue statements or omits to include information; offences regarding insider dealing or market manipulation; offences of ordinary theft, false accounting, destroying, defacing or concealing valuable securities and forgery. It has been widely reported that the 2011 Act was introduced to enhance Garda investigative and prosecution powers in respect of...