A member of Garda Síochána who suspects with reasonable cause that a person is in possession of a controlled drug in contravention of the Act may without a warrant
- search the person and for such purpose detain him as long as it is reasonably necessary for making the search;
- search any vehicle, vessel, aircraft in which he suspects a controlled drug may be found for such purposes he may require the person in control thereof to stop the vehicle, vessel or aircraft;
- seize and detain anything found during the course of the search which appears to him to be something that may be required in evidence.
Where a Garda decides to search a person under the power, he may require him to attend a Garda station. A person who fails to comply with requirements in relation to searching may be arrested without a warrant.
A person who by act or omission, impedes or obstructs a member of Garda Síochána or a duly authorised person in the lawful exercise of power under the Act is guilty of an offence. Contravention of any licence or permit is also an offence.
A member of Garda Síochána or persons authorized by the Minister or Irish Medicine Board (now the Health Product Regulatory Authority) may at all reasonable times
- enter any buildings or premises in which a person carries on a business of producer, manufacturer, seller or distributor of a controlled drug;
- require a person employed to produce any controlled drug in his possession;
- require the production of books records and data relating to the transactions concerning the controlled drug;
- inspect any controlled drug book record or another document in accordance with the requirement
Similar powers may be granted to a person who is authorised on that behalf by the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.
Powers of Arrest
Where with reasonable cause, a member of an Garda Síochána suspects that a person is guilty of an offence of possession of a controlled drug for unlawful sale or supply, he may arrest the person without a warrant. Where a member of an Garda Síochána with reasonable cause, suspects that such an offence has been attempted suspects a person arrested will abscond or has doubts of the person’s identity or abode or knows the person does not ordinarily reside in the State he may arrest the person concerned without a warrant.
Application may be made to the District Court for a warrant to search premises where there are reasonable grants for suspecting that a person is in possession of a controlled drug forged a prescription, opium plant, cannabis or document directly or indirectly relation to or connected with a transaction which would be an offence.
The search warrant will authorise the named member of an Garda Síochána, accompanied by other members within one month to enter any premises by force if necessary, in order to search the same. They may examine, take anything found thereon, inspect books and remove evidence.
A person guilty of the offence of possession of cannabis or cannabis resin may in the case of a first offence be fined on summary conviction up to €378 or indictment €625. These sums increase in the case of the second offence. In the case of the third offence, a person convicted may be subjected to a fine not exceeding €1,270 or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or on indictment, an unlimited fine or imprisonment of up to three years.
In the case of any other offence of possession a person may be convicted summarily may on conviction be subject to a fine of up to €1,270 or up to 12 months imprisonment or both or on conviction on indictment to a term of up to seven years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both.
In the case of persons guilty of other offences, other than offences related to possession for the purpose of supply or control, they may be fined up to €1,270 or up to 12 months on summary conviction or on indictment, unlimited fine and imprisonment up to 14 years.
Sanctions; Possession for Sale or Supply
In the case of possession for the purpose of supply or sale on indictment, a person so convicted may be subject to an unlimited fine and imprisonment for any term up to including life. Account may be taken of previous conviction.
The legislation attempts to secure subject to some element of judicial discretion, that a person convicted of being possession of a controlled drug for the purpose of sale or supply of over €13,000 in value should receive a minimum sentence of 10 years. A lesser sentence may be applied if there are exceptional and specific circumstances relating to the offence, which would make a sentence of this duration unjust in all the circumstances.
The power to remit or commute sentence, vest in the Minister is not to apply in respect of certain of the above offences, which are subject to a minimum sentence. Sentences may be reduced by remission in the normal course. Temporary release powers are not to apply during periods for which commutation or remission is prohibited.
Persons who forge or possess with intent to deceive a prescription are subject on the summary conviction to a fine of up to €400 or six months imprisonment or on conviction on indictment, to an unlimited fine or imprisonment up to three years.
Reports and Bonds
Where a person is convicted of a first or second offence, the court may remand the person for the purpose of an HSE probation and welfare officer report.
Where a person is convicted of a third or subsequent offence of possession of a controlled drug or for offences relating to sale and supply less than €13,000, smoking opium or possession of associate utilities, the court may remand the person concerned and request a report from HSE, probation and welfare service. relating to the person concerned, together with recommendations and a report on vocational and educational circumstances and social background of the convicted individual together with recommendations. The reports may be withheld from the person concerned.
The court may, having considered the reports if it is of the opinion that the welfare of the convicted person so warrants, instead of imposing a penalty, permit the person to enter a recognizance with
- a condition that he is placed under the supervision of a body (which may be the HSE) for a stated period requiring the person to undergo medical or other treatment recommended in the report;
- a condition requiring such person to attend or remain in a hospital, clinic or other place specified;
- a condition requiring that he attend a specified course of education training or instruction which would improve his vocational opportunities or social circumstances facilitated social rehabilitation or reduce the likelihood of his committing a further offence
He may order the person to be detained in a designated custodial treatment centre for a period not exceeding the maximum period of imprisonment.