Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Questions (289)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

289. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to update the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001. [26749/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

There are currently two Bills being prepared within my Department which will amend the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001.

The first is the proposed Criminal Justice Bill 2019, the General Scheme for which was approved by the Government in October 2018, which is expected to be approved for publication in the coming weeks. This Bill transposes Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2017 on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law. Although the provisions of the Directive are already largely transposed into national law under existing legislation, the 2019 Bill will update Part 6 of the 2001 Act through updated definitions of offences, officials who are subject to the Act and the “intentional” aspect of the Directive’s requirements. It also addresses the liability of legal persons in the context of relevant offences.

The second Bill that will amend the 2001 Act is the proposed Criminal Justice (Counterfeiting) Bill 2019, the General Scheme for which will be brought to Government in the coming weeks, and will be made publically available thereafter on my Department’s website. This Bill will transpose Directive (EU) 2014/62 and give effect to three EU technical instruments for the improved monitoring and detection of counterfeit euros. The 2014 Directive establishes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the area of counterfeiting of the euro and other currencies. The Directive requires the creation of criminal offences of making, uttering, importing counterfeit currency and possessing instruments and security features for making counterfeits. It is considered that the provisions on counterfeiting in Part 5 of the 2001 Act meet most of the requirements of the 2014 Directive. However, it is necessary to make a number of amendments to Part 5 of the 2001 Act to fully transpose the 2014 Directive and the associated technical instruments.

In addition to the above amendments to the 2001 Act, the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2019 contains a minor amendment to section 52 of the 2001 Act which will allow An Garda Síochána to request records in an electronic (or any other) format where necessary. The General Scheme of this Bill is available from my Department's website, having been approved by the Government in January this year. It is expected to be brought before the Houses in the Autumn.

Finally, officials within my Department are currently considering the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission’s 2018 Report on Regulatory Powers and Corporate Offences insofar as the recommendations of that report pertain to the 2001 Act.