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Welfare Reform Act (Northern Ireland) 2007

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Unlawful disclosure of certain information

This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

40.—(1) A person to whom subsection (2) applies is guilty of an offence if he discloses without lawful authority any information—

(a)which comes to him by virtue of section 39(1), (2) or (5), and

(b)which relates to a particular person.

(2) This subsection applies to—

(a)a person mentioned in section 39(4)(f) to (h);

(b)a person who provides qualifying welfare services (within the meaning of section 39(6));

(c)a person who is or has been a director, member of the committee of management, manager, secretary or other similar officer of a person mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b);

(d)a person who is or has been an employee of a person mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b).

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine or both, or

(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both.

(4) It is not an offence under this section—

(a)to disclose information in the form of a summary or collection of information so framed as not to enable information relating to any particular person to be ascertained from it;

(b)to disclose information which has previously been disclosed to the public with lawful authority.

(5) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that at the time of the alleged offence—

(a)he believed that he was making the disclosure in question with lawful authority and had no reasonable cause to believe otherwise, or

(b)he believed that the information in question had previously been disclosed to the public with lawful authority and had no reasonable cause to believe otherwise.

(6) A disclosure is made with lawful authority if it is so made for the purposes of section 117 of the Administration Act.

(7) This section does not affect that section.

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