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The Housing Support Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2002

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Unauthorised disclosure of information

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7.—(1) The persons to whom this Article applies are–

(a)any person (“the recipient”) to whom information is supplied by virtue of Article 6,

(b)any person who is or has been a director, member of the committee of management, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the recipient, and

(c)any person who is or has been employed by the recipient.

(2) A person to whom this Article applies is guilty of an offence if he discloses without lawful authority any information which is supplied by virtue of Article 6 and which relates to a particular person.

(3) It is not an offence under this Article–

(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, or

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

(4) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this Article 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.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under this Article is to be liable–

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or a fine or both, or

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

(6) For the purposes of this Article a disclosure is to be regarded as made with lawful authority if, and only if, it is made–

(a)in accordance with Article 6(3) or any other statutory provision,

(b)in accordance with an order of a court,

(c)for the purpose of instituting, or otherwise for the purposes of, any proceedings before a court or tribunal, or

(d)with the consent of the appropriate person (as defined in section 117(10) of the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 (c. 8)).

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