Thursday, 29 January 2004

Questions (7, 8)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

6 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made by the Courts Service with regard to guidelines for gardaí acting as jury keepers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2435/04]

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Joe Costello

Question:

142 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made by the Courts Service with regard to guidelines for gardaí acting as jury keepers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2600/04]

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

I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 142 together.

As the Deputies will appreciate, under the Courts Service Act 1998, the Courts Service is independent in the performance of its functions, including the management of the courts. The issue of security arrangements within the courts, including arrangements concerning juries, is a matter, in the first instance, for the Courts Service to consider. In this regard, I am advised by the Courts Service that it is currently in the process of producing guidelines for jury keepers. I am further advised that the Courts Service hopes to be in a position to finalise the guidelines in the very near future.

In so far as the Garda authorities are concerned, I have been informed that, while the Commissioner has not issued any specific guidelines to gardaí who act as jury keepers, the Garda Síochána discipline regulations are there to deal with any matters relating to misconduct involving a member of the Garda Síochána employed as jury keeper. Indeed, these regulations were applied in a recent case.