Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Criminal Justice Bill 2011: Committee and Remaining Stages
Feargal Quinn (Independent)
I am fascinated by what the Minister has said. I wanted to refer to Senator O'Donovan's first query, because it seemed to me the question of retrospective legislation was sacrosanct but the Minister has opened my eyes to other possible situations. For example, a person may have opened a book last week and discovered something he or she had not known before. Although it may not have been a crime not to report this last week, when we pass this legislation, it will be a crime if the person does not report it at a later stage. This is a valid and correct point. In other words, the crime is the fact that the person has the knowledge but has not disclosed it. I wonder whether most people know that. It seems there will be a need to publicise the provisions this legislation will introduce. I can well imagine a person who thinks it is not illegal for him or her to keep quiet about something now, but when the legislation is passed, it will become illegal for the person not to pass on something they learned the previous month or the previous year. There will be a need to publicise it.