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Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

45Right of access to legal advice

(1)A person who is detained under the terrorism provisions and is being held in police custody shall be entitled, if he so requests, to consult a solicitor privately.

(2)A person shall be informed of the right conferred on him by subsection (1) above as soon as practicable after he has become a person to whom that subsection applies.

(3)A request made by a person under subsection (1) above, and the time at which it is made, shall be recorded in writing unless it is made by him while at a court after being charged with an offence.

(4)If a person makes such a request, he must be permitted to consult a solicitor as soon as is practicable except to the extent that any delay is permitted by this section.

(5)Any delay in complying with a request under subsection (1) above is only permitted if—

(a)it is authorised by an officer of at least the rank of superintendent; and

(b)it does not extend beyond the relevant time.

(6)In subsection (5) above “the relevant time” means—

(a)where the request is the first request made by the detained person under subsection (1) above, the end of the period referred to in section 44(6) above; or

(b)where the request follows an earlier request made by the detained person under that subsection in pursuance of which he has consulted a solicitor, the end of the period of forty-eight hours beginning with the time when that consultation began.

(7)An officer may give an authorisation under subsection (5) above orally or in writing but, if he gives it orally, he shall confirm it in writing as soon as is practicable.

(8)An officer may only authorise a delay in complying with a request under subsection (1) above where he has reasonable grounds for believing that the exercise of the right conferred by that subsection at the time when the detained person desires to exercise it—

(a)will lead to interference with or harm to evidence connected with a scheduled offence or interference with or physical injury to any person; or

(b)will lead to the alerting of any person suspected of having committed such an offence but not yet arrested for it; or

(c)will hinder the recovery of any property obtained as a result of such an offence; or

(d)will lead to interference with the gathering of information about the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism; or

(e)by alerting any person, will make it more difficult—

(i)to prevent an act of terrorism; or

(ii)to secure the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any person in connection with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.

(9)If any delay is authorised, then, as soon as is practicable—

(a)the detained person shall be told the reason for authorising it; and

(b)the reason shall be recorded in writing.

(10)If an officer of at least the rank of Assistant Chief Constable has reasonable grounds for believing that, unless he gives a direction under subsection (11) below, the exercise by a person of the right conferred by subsection (1) above will have any of the consequences specified in subsection (8) above, he may give a direction under subsection (11) below.

(11)A direction under this subsection is a direction that a person desiring to exercise the right conferred by subsection (1) above may only consult a solicitor in the sight and hearing of a qualified officer of the uniformed branch of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

(12)An officer is qualified for the purposes of subsection (11) above if—

(a)he is of at least the rank of inspector; and

(b)in the opinion of the officer giving the direction, he has no connection with the case.

(13)Any authorisation under subsection (5) above or direction under subsection (11) above shall cease to have effect once the reason for giving it ceases to subsist.

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