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Government of Wales Act 2006

Witnesses and documents

Section 39: Offences

181.Subsection (1) of this section makes it a criminal offence for a person to whom a notice under section 38(1) has been given to:


refuse, or fail, without reasonable excuse, to attend proceedings as required by the notice;


refuse, or fail, without reasonable excuse, to answer any question concerning the subjects specified in the notice;


refuse, or fail, without reasonable excuse, to produce a document which the notice required to be produced; or


intentionally alter, suppress, conceal or destroy any such document.

182.Subsection (1) is subject to the various grounds on which a person may decline to answer a question or produce a document (sections 34(3) and 37(5), (6), (8) and (9)).

183.If a person charged with an offence under subsection (1)(a), (b) or (c) can adduce evidence of a reasonable excuse for the refusal or failure, then it is for the prosecution to prove that the person did not have such an excuse.

184.The penalty in the case of a person found guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (currently £5,000) or of imprisonment for up to 51 weeks, or both. (Under transitional provisions in paragraph 21 of Schedule 11 the maximum term of imprisonment will be three months until section 281(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 is brought into force.) Offences are triable summarily.

185.Certain senior officers of a body corporate (e.g. a company) are personally liable (in addition to the body corporate itself) to prosecution where they have consented to or connived at the commission of an offence or the offence is attributable to their neglect.

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