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Legislation requiring account of movements did not infringe constitutional right of silence

By: Mark Tottenham BL

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High Court refuses to grant a declaration that legislation was unconstitutional, which created an offence of failure of a person arrested on suspicion of certain offences to give to a questioning Garda a full account of movements and actions during a specified period, on the grounds that: (a) there were adequate safeguards in existence for persons in custody; and (b) the restriction on the right to silence imposed by the relevant section could not be regarded as excessive and it was proportionate to the objective which it is designed to achieve.

Arrest of persons suspected of membership of a prescribed organisation (IRA) - failure to account for movements - section 52 of the Offences Against the State Act 1939 - whether section 52 infringed the constitutionally protected right of silence - right of Garda to demand full account of movements and actions during a specified period - offence of failure or refusal to give account or to give information that was false or misleading - determination by Supreme Court of validity of another section of the legislation - s 30 - locus standi - common law right to silence - immunity against self-incrimination - Article 38.1 of the Constitution - trial in due course of law - restrictions on exercise of right - protections afforded to a person in custody - presumption of innocence - right to trial on adversarial principles.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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