Seanad debates

Friday, 18 December 2020

Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill 2017: Committee and Remaining Stages

 

10:00 am

Barry Ward (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The amendment specifically refers to proceedings in the Circuit Court. The offences in the Act can be tried summarily or on indictment. Therefore, it seems to me that this amendment precludes the action intended from applying to summary proceedings in the District Court. The basis on which somebody might wish to make his or her name public in that court is just as strong.

I am surprised by the provisions of the Bill generally in relation to section 5. I speak to the section rather than the amendment but it seems strange that it is a matter for the judge as to whether the person waives his or her anonymity or not. That is my reading of the section and I think that is something the victim or alleged victim should be entitled to do himself or herself. Under the section as currently drafted, it would almost be an offence for that person to waive his or her anonymity without the permission of the court or the judge. That is a difficulty I have.

On amendment No. 18, I do not understand why it is not "the court", rather than "the Circuit Court".

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