Thursday, 29 January 2004

Questions (63)

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

56 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to concerns expressed by the DPP that he is unable to investigate the vast majority of files he receives from the Garda Complaints Board due to the fact that the time limit for summary prosecution has already expired; the steps he is taking to deal with this problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2431/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I am aware of the matters referred to by the Deputy.

The Garda Complaints Act provides that complaints can be lodged with the complaints board up to six months from the date of the alleged incident. After receipt of the complaint it must be investigated and the findings of the investigation presented to the board. At this point, if the board is of the opinion that the conduct alleged may constitute a criminal offence, it refers the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

I am aware that the timescales implicit in the procedures outlined above can cause problems in the context of the time limit for summary prosecutions, and this is one of the matters that will be addressed in the Garda Síochána Bill, which I will publish shortly.