On application made, a court may when imposing a sentence of imprisonment on a person convicted of a sexual offence (referred to in this section as the “respondent”), or at any time before the date of the respondent’s release from prison, in addition to whatever sentence it may impose or, as the case may be, has been imposed on the person, make a “harassment order”.
An application for a harassment order may be made by a member of the Garda Síochána not below the rank of Inspector, by a probation officer or by the victim of the offence (and is made on notice to the respondent.An application made to the District Court.
A court may only make a harassment order where it is satisfied that the respondent has, without reasonable excuse, behaved in such a way as to give rise to a well-founded fear that the victim may be subjected to—
- harassment by the respondent, or
- unwanted contact from the respondent,
such as would cause him or her fear, distress or alarm or amount to intimidation and it is in the interests of justice to do so.
An order may prohibit the respondent from communicating by any means with the victim, and approaching within such distance as the court shall specify of the place of residence or employment of the victim or any other place frequented by the victim as the court deems appropriate,
and is subject to such terms and conditions as the court may specify.
A harassment order may contain only the above prohibitions, on the respondent as the court considers necessary for the purpose of protecting the victim from harassment by the respondent.
A harassment order shall cease to have effect on—
- the date of the respondent’s release from prison,
- such earlier date as the court may specify, or
- the expiration of such period not exceeding 12 months from the date of the respondent’s release as the court may specify.
Where an order under this section is in force, the court, on application to it in that behalf at any time by either the applicant for the order or the respondent in respect of whom that order was made, may, having regard to the matters set outabove , discharge or, as may be appropriate, vary the order.
A harassment order shall take effect on notification of its making being given to the respondent. Oral communication to the respondent by or on behalf of the applicant of the fact that a harassment order has been made, together with production of a copy of the order, shall, be taken to be sufficient notification to the respondent of the making of the order.
If the respondent is present at the sitting of the court at which the harassment order is made, he or she is taken to have been notified of its making.An order varying a harassment order shall take effect on notification of its making being given to the respondent.
A person who, without reasonable excuse, contravenes a harassment order is guilty of an offence and is liable—
- on summary conviction, to a class B fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both, or
- on conviction on indictment, to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.
Proceedings for a harassment order is civil proceedings and is heard otherwise than in public. A harassment order shall cease to have effect if the conviction concerned is quashed on appeal or otherwise.
The jurisdiction conferred on the District Court may be exercised by a judge of the District Court for the time being assigned to the District Court district in which the victim resides at the time the application is made.
(17) In this section—
“date of the respondent’s release from prison” means the date on which the sentence of imprisonment imposed on him or her in respect of the offence concerned expires or, as the case may be, his or her remission from the sentence begins;
“probation officer” means a person appointed by the Minister for Justice and Equality to be a probation officer;
“sentence of imprisonment” includes detention in Saint Patrick’s Institution or in a children detention school but does not include a sentence of imprisonment or detention imposed on the person the execution of the whole of which is suspended;
“sexual offence” is construed in accordance with section 3 of the Act of 2001.
Effect of appeal from order
An appeal from an harassment order shall, if the court that made the order or the court to which the appeal is brought so determines (but not otherwise), stay the operation of the order on such terms (if any) as may be imposed by the court making the determination.
The 2017 Act amends the Bail Act 1997 in order to include the offences created in it. Under the Bail Act 1997, bail may be refused to a person charged with a serious offence where it is considered necessary to prevent the commission of a serious offence, i.e., an offence carrying a maximum prison sentence of at least 5 years. Serious offences for bail purposes are specified. The offences to be included in the Schedule, by
way of this section, is regarded as serious offences for bail purposes.
Amendment to the sex offenders act 2001
A sentence involving post-release supervision imposed shall include a condition requiring the sex offender to attend all appointments with the probation officer whose supervision he or she is under and to comply with the lawful instructions of that officer.”,
In any case where a court has imposed on a sex offender, for an offence, a sentence involving post-release supervision, the court may, on the application of a probation officer not more than one month before the date of the offender’s intended release from prison or any time during the supervision period, amend any condition for securing that supervision or additional condition or include one or more further conditions pursuant to either of the aforesaid sections.
In any case where a court has imposed on a sex offender, for an offence committed before the commencement of the 2017 Act, a sentence involving post-release supervision, the court may, on the application of a probation officer not more than one month before the date of the offender’s intended release from prison or any time during the supervision period, amend any condition or include one or more further conditions where such conditions are necessary for securing that supervision.
The shall not apply in respect of post-release supervision orders extant at the time of the commencement of this section.
Any condition referred whether an amended condition or a new condition, shall have the same effect as a condition included in a sentence involving post-release supervision.
The date of the sex offender’s release from prison” means the date on which the sentence of imprisonment imposed on the sex offender expires, or as the case may be, his or her remission from the sentence begins.”,