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The Proceeds of Crime (Northern Ireland) Order 1996

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Offence of prejudicing investigation

53.—(1) Where, in relation to an investigation into drug trafficking—

(a)an order under Article 50 has been made or has been applied for and has not been refused, or

(b)a warrant under Article 51 has been issued,

a person shall be guilty of an offence if, knowing or suspecting that the investigation is taking place, he makes any disclosure which is likely to prejudice the investigation.

(2) In proceedings against a person for an offence under this Article, it is a defence to prove—

(a)that he did not know or suspect that the disclosure was likely to prejudice the investigation, or

(b)that he had lawful authority or reasonable excuse for making the disclosure.

(3) Nothing in paragraph (1) makes it an offence for a professional legal adviser to disclose any information or other matter—

(a)to, or to a representative of, a client of his in connection with the giving by the adviser of legal advice to the client, or

(b)to any person—

(i)in contemplation of, or in connection with, legal proceedings; and

(ii)for the purpose of those proceedings.

(4) Paragraph (3) does not apply in relation to any information or other matter which is disclosed with a view to furthering any criminal purpose.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under this Article shall be liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to a fine or to both;

(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both.

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