Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if An Garda Síochána maintains separate figures for prosecutions taken under section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1999 as they relate to the intimidation of jurors and witnesses respectively; if not, if he will instruct An Garda Síochána to do so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15092/19]
218. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prosecutions to date on an annual basis under section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1999 regarding juror or witness intimidation. [15093/19]
219. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of cases that have been prosecuted in the Special Criminal Court under section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 since its enactment. [15094/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 217 to 219, inclusive, together.
I must inform the Deputy that the specific information being sought in relation to numbers of prosecutions is not available within my Department.
As the Deputy is aware, the intimidation of a witness or juror is an offence pursuant to Section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1999, which specifies the offence as harming, threatening or menacing, or in any other way intimidating or putting in fear another person who is assisting in the investigation of an offence by the Garda Síochána, with the intention of causing the investigation or course of justice to be obstructed, perverted or interfered with.
Following the enactment of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009, the offence is punishable on indictment by a fine or a term of imprisonment of up to 15 years.
With regard to the Special Criminal Court, I am advised that the Courts Service can only provide statistics on convictions. They do not hold statistics on prosecutions as they are a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The Deputy will be aware that, under Irish law, the DPP operates independently of me and my Department, and decides whether or not someone should be prosecuted for a crime, following a Garda investigation.
However, I understand that the DPP does publish annual reports on their website. These reports contain, inter-alia, information about the numbers of prosecutions in a given year and may be of some assistance to the Deputy. Further details can be found on the DPP's website: https://www.dppireland.ie/publications/
As to whether An Garda Síochána maintain separate figures for prosecutions under section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1999, the Deputy will appreciate that the manner in which records and statistics are maintained within An Garda Síochána is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team, and I have no role in this regard. However, to be of assistance to the Deputy I have requested a report from the Garda authorities and I will contact the Deputy again when this information is to hand.