In relation to proceedings against a child or where a child is a witness in proceedings, no report which reveals the name, address or school of the child or includes any particulars likely to lead to his identification, and no picture which purports to be or include a picture of the child which is likely to lead to his identification, shall be published or included in a broadcast.
The Court may dispense to any specified extent with the above provisions if satisfied it is appropriate to do so. If it does so, it must so explain in open court why it is satisfied that it should be done. None of the above is to limit or affect the law on contempt.
The same charge or proceedings may charge offences of assault, ill-treatment, neglect, abandonment or committing all or any of those offences in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering to the child’s health or seriously to affect his welfare.
A person charged with scheduled offences, as set out below, may also be charged with one or more of the above. A person convicted is not to be liable for a separate penalty in respect of each except on separate informations.
Where a member of An Garda Síochána reasonably suspects that any of the above offences have been committed or attempted, or that a person has committed any such offence or attempted to do so, the member may arrest the person without warrant if
- he reasonably suspects that unless he is arrested, he may abscond for the purpose of evading justice or will obstruct the course of justice,
- having made inquiries has reasonable doubts as to his identity or has reasonable grounds for believing that there is an immediate serious risk to child’s health or the welfare of the child concerned.
Where a member of An Garda Síochána arrests a person under the above powers and has reasonable grounds for believing that there is an immediate and serious risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of the child, and it would not be sufficient for the protection of the child from such immediate and serious risk to await the making of an application for an emergency care order, the member may remove the child to safety. The provisions of the childcare legislation will apply.
For the purpose of arresting a person, a member of An Garda Síochána, accompanied by others as may be necessary, may enter and search any place. Where a judge of the District Court is satisfied on the evidence of a registered medical practitioner that the attendance before a Court of any child, in respect of whom any of the above offences is alleged to have been committed, would involve serious danger to the safety, health or wellbeing of the child, the judge may take evidence by sworn deposition, or through live video link or television link, the deposition and video recording evidence are admissible.
Notwithstanding the above, in any proceedings for an offence, the evidence of a child under 14 may be taken or received other than on oath or affirmation, if the Court is satisfied that the child is capable of giving an intelligible account of events which are relevant to those proceedings.
A child whose evidence is taken or makes or statement material to the proceedings which he or she knows to be false or does not believe to be true, he is guilty of an offence. He may if found guilty be dealt with as if he or she had been guilty of perjury.
In any proceedings for an offence a person who, in the opinion of the Court, is a child is called as a witness, the Court may exclude from the Court during the taking of his evidence all persons except bona fide officers of the Court, persons directly concerned in the proceedings, bona fide representatives of the Press and such other persons if any, as the Court may in its discretion permit to remain. This is in addition to any other powers in relation to in camera proceedings.
Where in any of the above offences, it is alleged that a person in respect of whom an offence was committed was a child, or was under or had attained any specified age, and he or she appears to the Court to have been at the date of the commission a child or under that age, the person shall be presumed, unless the contrary is shown, to be a child or of that age.
The Children’s Act provides for nondisclosure of offences committed by children after a lapse of three years. It does not apply to offences tried by Central Criminal Court. It applies when the offence was committed when the person was under the age of 18. The person must not have been dealt with for an offence in that three year period.
The provision does not apply to a person who has been found guilty of an offence unless he has served a period of detention or otherwise complied with the Court order. It does not prevent the provision applying to
- persons who have failed to pay a fine or other sum or imposed,
- the person on a finding of guilt entering a condition of a recognisance to keep the peace or to be of good behaviour,
- or breached any condition applicable to a Court order
which renders a person to whom it applies liable to be dealt with for the offence concerned.
A person, who benefits from provision is treated for all purposes as if he had not committed or been charged with or prosecuted for or found guilty or dealt with for the offence subject of the finding of guilt. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no evidence is to be admissible in proceedings before a judicial authority to prove that any such person committed the offence, has been charged with or prosecuted for, found guilty or dealt with for the offence concerned.
A person shall not, be asked, questions in any proceedings and shall not be required to answer any question related which cannot be answered without acknowledging or referring to a findings to which the above provisions apply or any ancillary circumstances.
Where a person seeking information in relation to a person’s previous findings of guilt, offences, conduct or circumstances is put to him or to another in judicial proceedings, the question shall be treated as not relating to the findings to which the provisions apply or any ancillary circumstances and the answer may be framed accordingly.
A person questioned is not to be subjected to any liability or prejudice by law by reason of failure to acknowledge or disclose on any such findings or circumstances in answer to the question.
Any obligation on any person by rule of law or agreement shall not extend to requiring him to disclose a finding to which the provisions apply or any ancillary circumstances.
The finding to which the provision applies, shall not be a proper ground for dismissing or excluding a person from any office, profession, occupation or employment, or for prejudicing him in any way in any occupation or employment.
The ancillary circumstances, ancillary to a finding are:
- that the offence which is the subject of the finding are the offences subject of the finding;
- the conduct constituting that offence, the process or proceedings preliminary to the finding;
- any penalty imposed in respect of it;
- any proceedings for reviewing any such penalty;
- anything done in pursuance of or undergone in pursuance, compliance with such penalty.
Where a person remains under the supervision of a probation and welfare officer under the Act, whether under a Court order or otherwise, the officer shall, subject to the directions of the Court, where appropriate, and in addition to the terms attached to a particular placement:
- visit, assist, advise and befriend the child where feasible, the child’s parents or guardian or other adult in whose residence the child may be residing,
- see that the child observes the terms and conditions attaching to the supervision,
- when necessary and appropriate, endeavour to find the child suitable employment and accommodation.
Where a child is under the supervision of a probation officer or juvenile liaison officer, it shall not be lawful for the child’s parents or guardian to exercise, their rights or powers as parents in such a manner as to interfere with such supervision.
Where, under the Children’s Act, a child is required to remain in a specified residence for specified periods, any member of An Garda Síochána may call to the residence, for any reasonable time within a period during which the child is required to remain there, for the purpose of establishing the child’s presence at the residence. The member may request any adult at the residence to produce the child to the member, and failure to do so, gives rise to an inference that he is not so present.
In proceedings against the child for failure to comply with the term or condition of a Court order that requires the child to remain at a specified residence, failure to produce the child is evidence of non-compliance.
Such a failure to produce a child may render the child, if detained in a children’s detention school, ineligible for temporary leave from the school in accordance with the rules of that school.
A child may be detained temporarily, but in no case for more than 24 hours,
- in a Garda Síochána station or any other place, designated by the Minister, with the agreement of its owners:
- while in transit to a Court from a remand centre, or children’s detention centre,
- while a case in which the child is involved is at hearing,
- while awaiting removal to a remand centre, or detention school.
An appeal lies to the Circuit Court from an order of the Children’s Court or District Court committing a child to a children detention school.
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