Sunday 21 January 2018

Law means we are all informers

The new Criminal Justice Act needs clarity on the issue of reporting theft, writes Michael McDowell

ON August 9, 2011, the new Criminal Justice Act, 2011, came into effect. It raises fundamental issues for any democratic society, especially one which is considering a criminal law to make reporting of child sex abuse mandatory.

The Act was stated to be an attempt to further improve the capacity of the Garda Siochana to investigate "serious white collar crime". As such, it was broadly welcomed as a necessary aid to the Garda in detecting, investigating and prosecuting serious financial offences including offences of fraud by financiers and bankers and those in charge of significant sums of investor and depositor funds. The Act significantly modernises and improves the powers of the Garda to confront complex cases of serious financial crime.

There is one controversial provision of the Act which deserved, but did not receive, greater public and legislative scrutiny.

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