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Miscellaneous Provisions Bill passes through Oireachtas

By July 21, 2023 No Comments
Miscellaneous Provisions Bill

Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022

The Minister for Justice announces the passing of the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2022, it having finalised all stages of the Oireachtas last week.

Key provisions

Provisions of the Miscellaneous Bill provide additional measures to address violence against Gardaí and provide additional powers to tackle organised crime. Key provisions implement the government’s commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to domestic and gender-based violence.

Stalking and harassment

The Bill introduces an offence of stalking and provide for further powers to deal with harassment. In announcing the passing of the Bill, the Minister for Justice stated that such offences are commonly part of domestic abuse scenarios. The offence may occur when a person watches, pesters, impersonates or communicates with another person. Section 23(3) sets out a detailed list of potential circumstances which may lead to the offence of stalking or harassment being committed. The new offence of stalking is defined as causing either fear of violence or serious distress, which has a substantial impact on a person’s day-to-day activities.

The Bill also provides for the court to issue civil restraining orders to protect those who may have been the victim of stalking behaviour, but where it has not been proved to the criminal standard.

Victims of stalking and harassment will have their identities protected, preventing the identification of the victim publicly, unless the victim decides to waive that right. This is seen as important tool in ensuring that victims come forward and work with Gardaí, without having to worry that they will be publicly identified.

Currently, victims of sexual offences are not subjected to cross-examination by the alleged perpetrator where the perpetrator has no legal representation. This protection against traumatisation will be extended to victims of stalking and harassment.

Once signed by the President, it is intended that the Bill will be commenced in gradually over the coming year.

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