The Gardaí are permitted to designate a place as a crime scene. Where a member of an Garda Síochána is in a public place (or another person where he or she is authorised), and he or she has reasonable grounds for believing arrestable offence has, is being, or may have been committed and that there may be evidence relating to the offence at the place concerned, he or she may, pending a direction as below takes steps as he considers necessary to preserve evidence relating to the commission of a crime.
As soon as prison be practical, the member of an Garda Síochána must request a member not below the rank of superintendent to give a direction in relation to the place concerned. A Garda Síochána of the rank of superintendent or higher may designate a place as the scene of a crime, if he or she has reasonable grounds for believing that an arrestable offence has, is being, or may be committed, that there may be evidence of such commission in the place concerned and that it is necessary to designate the place as a crime scene to provide, preserve, search for and collect evidence.
A direction authorises members of an Garda Síochána to take steps including
- delineating the area concerned by a barrier;
- directing persons to leave the scene
- removing persons who fail to leave the scene,
- directing persons not to enter the scene,
- preventing persons from entering the scene,
- preventing a person from removing interfering with the scene,
- securing the scene from all unauthorised intrusion,
- securing and examining the scene,
- photographing the scene.
A crime scene may be designated as such for such period as is necessary to preserve evidence. Where the scene relates to somewhere other than a public place, it shall l cease after 24 hours.
This period may be extended for a further period of up to 48 hours by an order made by the District Court on application. The direction may be continued in force, not more than 3 times.
On an application to the High Court, the court may order the scene to be continued to be designated for such period as is specified and appropriate.
A member of An Garda Síochána who proposes to make an application must give notice to the occupier or if it is not reasonably practicable to identify the occupier, the owner unless not reasonably practicable to notify him. Such as party may be heard in the application to the court for the designation of.the scene.
Management of Scene
It is an offence to obstruct a member of An Garda Síochána in the exercise of his powers in relation to a crime scene. A person may be arrested without a warrant where he is suspected or is committing such an offence.
A member of An Garda Síochána who is in a public place, or another place where he is authorised has the power to seize and retain evidence. The evidence must relate to the commission of an arrestable offence. The member may seize and retain the thing for use as evidence in a criminal proceeding for such a period as is reasonable. It may be retained until proceedings are concluded.
After the conclusion of proceedings, the Police Property Act applies. Application may be made for the return of the property concerned under that legislation. If it is represented to or it appears to a member of An Garda Síochána that the document constituting evidence has made for the purpose of giving or communicating legal advice from a barrister or solicitor, the evidence may not be seized unless he suspects with reasonable cause that the document was not so made and was not intended solely for such purpose. This general power does not limit any other powers the Garda Síochána may have to seize evidence.