Guns pull in Dublin

  Section 2 of the Firearms Act, 1925 Subject to the exceptions from this section hereinafter mentioned, it shall not be lawful for any person after the commencement of this Act to have in his possession, use, or carry any firearm or ammunition save in so far as such possession, use, or carriage is authorised by a firearm certificate granted under this Act and for the time being in force. (2) Save in any of the cases hereinafter excepted from this section, every person who after the commencement of this Act has in his possession, uses, or carries any firearm without holding a firearm certificate therefor or otherwise than as authorised by such certificate, or purchases, uses, has in his possession, or carries any ammunition without holding a firearm certificate therefor or in quantities in excess of those authorised by such certificate, or fails to comply with any condition subject to which a firearm certificate was granted to him, shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be punishable accordingly. (3) This section shall not apply to any of the following cases and such cases are accordingly excepted from this section, that is to say:— (a) the possession or carriage of a firearm under and in accordance with a permit issued under this Act and for the time being in force; (b) the possession, use, or carriage of a firearm or ammunition by a member of the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann or of a lawful police force in Saorstát Eireann in the performance of his duty as such member; (c) the possession, use, or carriage of a firearm or ammunition by a registered firearms dealer in the ordinary course of his business as such dealer; (d) the possession or carriage of a firearm or ammunition in the ordinary course of business by a person engaged in the business of carrying or of warehousing goods for reward; (e) the possession of a firearm or ammunition on board a ship as part of the equipment of the ship; (f) the carriage for sporting purposes only of a firearm or ammunition under instructions from and for the use of the holder of a firearm certificate for such firearm or ammunition; (g) the possession, carriage, or use of a humane killer in the ordinary course of business by a butcher, slaughterman, knacker, or other person engaged in the business of the humane slaughter of animals. Section 25 of the Firearms Act, 1925 Any person who commits an offence under this Act in respect of which no other punishment is provided by this Act shall be liable in respect of each such offence— (a) on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding six months, or to both such fine and such imprisonment; or (b) on conviction thereof on indictment, to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such imprisonment. Do you require representations? Free call 018724717 or 0868257176 NOW to consult the experts.

Right to Legal Advice in Custody

Supreme-Court-Ireland A recent decision of the Supreme Court has important implications for the manner in which evidence gathered by Gardaí during questioning and the right to legal advice in custody. In the case of DPP v Gormley and DPP v White, the question arose (amongst others) as to whether statements made by a person in custody to Gardaí after that person had requested legal advice from a solicitor, but before the solicitor had arrived at the Garda station and had given legal advice, could be admissible as evidence against that person. The Supreme Court looked at several international examples as to what is the current norm in criminal trials as to whether such statements would be allowed, or whether a right to legal advice would preclude such statements being admitted as evidence against that person. The Court also looked at the state of Irish law. The Court found that the situation in Irish law was that as long as the Gardaí had made reasonable efforts to contact and obtain a solicitor once a person had requested one they could continue with the questioning of a person. Any statements made by that person before the solicitor arrived and gave advice could be used against that person. The Court looked at the European Convention on Human Rights where the right against self-incrimination was guaranteed unless a person waived that right. The Convention was breached where a person was not allowed the benefit of legal advice when requested prior to questioning. The Court looked at several jurisdictions including the United States (where the Miranda case clarified a person’s right against self incrimination and to legal advice, also to be informed by police of these protections), Canada and New Zealand. In these jurisdictions it was an entitlement not to to be interrogated after legal advice had been requested and before a solicitor/lawyer had give legal advice. If questioning was allowed to continue after it was requested and before legal advice was given, a person’s Constitutional rights would be diluted. A person, the Court stated, was entitled to trial in due course of law according to the Constitution. This may not affect the manner in which Gardaí gather evidence in general. However once a person has been arrested and has liberty denied for the purposes of questioning to gather evidence against that person, it is intimately connected with the trial itself and the person’s Constitutional protections shall apply. Fairness of process must apply from the time of arrest. What the case means for those accused of criminal offences is that once a person requests to see their solicitor while in custody (usually a Garda Station) Gardaí should stop questioning that person and go about providing that person with a solicitor. Should they continue questioning that person before the solicitor gives legal advice, anything said by that person prior to the solicitor’s advice would be inadmissible at a trial. This case moves Ireland further into line with international norms of criminal procedure and the rights of an accused person in custody. It may have an effect on cases which are currently in the Courts. It may also have an effect on convicted persons who had 1.) requested legal advice, 2.) were questioned after requesting a solicitor but prior to the solicitor arriving and 3.) the statements made in that time were used as evidence against that person. This would only apply however if that person objected to the evidence on these grounds during trial. The would also appear to bring the possibility of a right to have a solicitor present at all times during questioning of a person by Gardaí one step closer, as is the norm in many jurisdictions. The full decision is available here

Supreme Court Rules in ‘Right to Die’ Case

The Supreme Court has recently ruled in a high profile 'Right to Die' case. The case involved a retired lecturer, Marie Fleming, who is terminally ill due to multiple sclerosis. The Court ruled that while suicide is no longer a criminal offence in Ireland, that did not mean that a Constitutional right to take one's own life existed. It further stated thet Ms Fleming did not have the right to assisted sucide under the pricnipal of equal treatment. Ms Fleming was appealing a High Court decision which refused to grant orders which would alow somone to lawfully help her die at a time of her choosing.

Registered Employment Agreements Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court has ruled that a law which allowed for registered employment agreements which sets rates of pay in certain sectors is unconstitutional. The court found that Part II of the Industrial Relations Act of 1946 unconstitutional because it delegated the power of legislators to the Labour Court. The office of the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in a statement said that it would be seeking legal advice. The statement added: “The judgment has the effect of striking down Registered Employment Agreements put in place under the 1946 Industrial Relations Act. Agreements which set pay and conditions for workers in five sectors including electrical contracting and construction are affected by today’s judgment.

Unconstitutional Search Warrant Leads to Quashed Conviction

A recent decision of the Supreme Court regarding certain search warrants has forced the government to introduce new legislation.

At issue was the constitutional protection afforded to the citizen's home under Article 40.5 of the Constitution. Article 40.5 states that: "The dwelling of every citizen is inviolable and shall not be forcibly entered save in accordance with the law.". The Supreme Court found that the legislation which allowed a Garda Superintendent to issue a search warrant under s.29 of the Offences Against the State Act 1939 was unconstitutional.

The Court stated that a high standard of independence was required of the person issuing a warrant to search a person's home. In the case of a member of An Garda Síochána issuing a warrant, this independence may not be guaranteed in some circumstances, for example where a person who issues the search warrant is conducting the same criminal investigation.

In this particular case, the Superintendent in charge of the investigation issued a warrant to search the home of a suspect. The Court held that at the Garda investigating the matter was not sufficiently independent to issue such a warrant. The proper person to issue the warrant was a person independent of the investigation authority, a district Court Judge for example.

The decision may have important implications for several cases currently before the courts where the same type of search warrant was issued and evidence was gathered during that search. Where criminal cases are fully concluded, it is likely that this decision will only be relevant where the convicted person challenged the search warrant during the original proceedings.