The Criminal Justice (Joint Investigation Teams) Act 2004 gives effect to an EU Council Framework on joint investigation team. They may be set up for limited purposes or specific purposes in order to carry out criminal investigations with a cross-border element.
There is provision for a state to request the establishment of a joint investigation team. The Irish authority is the Commissioner of an Garda Siochana. Where he is satisfied that an offence has been committed or there are reasonable grounds for suspecting an offence is being committed in the State and the investigation of the offence or suspected offence has links with other states and there are reasonable grounds for believing it would be in the public interest to establish a joint investigation team and the investigation requires coordinated or concerted action, the Irish competent authority may request the competent authority of other EU states to establish a joint investigation team.
The competent authority making the request must set out the conduct to be investigated, the identity and nationality of the person whose conduct is investigation, propose membership to team and the period for which the team is required. The Irish authority may provide additional information reasonably required by the requested authority to enable the decision to be taken as to whether to establish a joint investigation team.
Where any authorities consent to the request to establish a team, the Irish authority may agree to establish a joint investigation team with that authority or other authority to investigate the offence, suspected offence. Where the Irish authority receives the request, it shall consider it. It may request additional information. The Irish authority may agree to establish a joint investigation team equivalent to the above.
There is provision for the establishment of the joint investigation team. Agreement is made establishing the team which may be amended. The state may join a team which is already been established by a member state.
Commissioner from Garda Siochana may assign members of an Garda Siochana to a joint investigation team. The Minister in consultation with relevant parties may appoint non-Garda members to a joint investigation team including officials of customs and excise, revenue and other departments which have experience relevant to the investigation concerned.
Appointed members from Garda Siochana, civil servants are paid such remuneration as they would have been paid if they remained in their normal posts. They may be paid allowances associated with the appointment as well.
If a joint investigation team is operating in the State, it will perform its functions in accordance with the laws of the state. The team operates under the general control and superintendence of the Commissioner of an Garda Siochana who is to make the necessary organizational arrangements including appointment of a team leader. The team leader is to manage the operation of the team in accordance with legislation and the agreement. Seconded members of a joint investigation team operating in the State are subject to the law of the State.
There is discretion as to whether seconded members of the joint investigation teams are to be entrusted with the task of undertaking certain investigative measures in the host state.
Team members of a joint investigation team operating in the state whether appointed or seconded may be present while investigative measures are taken unless otherwise decided by the team leader. They may be excluded for operational reasons or due to the nature of the offence, their presence would not be appropriate.
Evidence obtained during investigation in the state by joint investigating team is to remain in the possession of a Garda Siochana. A member from Garda Siochana who is performing functions as a seconded member in another state is deemed to be an authority for the purpose of making a request for assistance under the Criminal Justice Act 1994.
National members operating as part of a joint investigating team operating abroad perform their function as seconded members in accordance with the agreement establishing the team. Where a joint investigation team is operating in another state in accordance with the law of that state, national members may in accordance with the law of the state provide information available in the state to the team for the purpose of the investigation.
The provisions which are to be contained in an agreement to establish a team are provided for. They include financial arrangements, team leaders, the identity of the persons investigated if known, the proposed period, participants, and the length of time. The agreement may be varied as required.
Participants can be drawn from Europol and certain other bodies. The role of participants is similar to seconded members or experts appointed above. This perform their functions under the direction and control of the team leader. They are subject to the law of the state concerned.
Information lawfully obtained by any members or seconded member of a joint investigation team while operating in the state which is not otherwise available to the authorities of the member state including the state that establishes a team may only be used for the purpose for which the joint team was established. This is subject to the below provisions whereby it cab be used for the detection, investigation, and prosecution of other offences.
- the team is established with the prior consent of the member state in which the information became available has been obtained.
- for the prevention of an immediate and serious threat to public security in one of the states concerned
- where the state in which the information became available has been informed and a criminal investigation is subsequently conducted into any matter from such threat and
- for such other purposes within the scope of the act as are agreed by the competent authorities concerned.
Consent to the use of the information may only be withheld where it is likely to prejudice criminal investigation in the state or where a request for mutual assistance could be refused under Criminal Justice Act 1994.
There is provision for criminal liability for offences committed by or against seconded members while operating in the State as part of a joint investigation team. There are provisions for protection from liability for persons who are members of a police force of another state. They are deemed to be members of Garda Siochana for liability purposes while operating in the state. Other seconded members are regarded as non-Garda personnel for the purpose of criminal liability.
There is provision for satisfaction of claims which may arise in the activities of joint investigation teams and by Irish members operating abroad. The State is liable for any injury, loss or damage caused in another state by national members of a joint investigation team in the performance of its functions as seconded members of a team.
The State is to reimburse other states in respect of any injury, loss, damage caused by them in the performance of their functions. State must pay compensation in respect of injury, loss, or damage caused by seconded members operating in the state in the manner that would apply in relation to injury, loss, or damage caused by national members.