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Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006

Schedule 3: Extension to Northern Ireland of provisions of SOCAP 2005

97.Paragraph 2 of Schedule 3 provides that the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland is an “Investigating Authority” within the meaning of section 60 of SOCAP, as is already, for example, the Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales. Paragraph 3 sets out the offences in Northern Ireland law to which the powers will apply. These correspond to the offences within Great Britain to which the British powers apply. For example, the powers will apply to section 17 of the Theft Act (Northern Ireland) 1969 (c. 16 (N.I.)) (which deals with false accounting) as SOCAP currently applies to section 17 of the Theft Act 1968 (c.60).

98.Paragraph 4 provides that where these provisions apply to Northern Ireland, they take effect as if paragraph (b) of section 62(2) of SOCAP were omitted. This omission ensures that a member of staff of the Serious Organised Crime Agency is not one of the types of person who may be authorised by an Investigating Authority to issue disclosure notices in Northern Ireland or who may search premises in Northern Ireland under a search warrant issued under section 66 of SOCAP. Paragraphs (a) and (c) of section 62(2) enable a police officer or a Revenue and Customs officer to be authorised to issue disclosure notices or search premises in this way.

99.Paragraph 7 of Schedule 3 makes provision in Northern Ireland for the power of an Investigating Authority to apply for a warrant to enter and search premises and seize documents. This will be by making a complaint on oath to a lay magistrate who will decide whether a warrant should be granted.

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