Section 76 – Offences relating to information about members of armed forces etc
204.This section inserts a new section 58A into the 2000 Act which creates a criminal offence. The offence is committed when a person either elicits or attempts to elicit information about a member of the armed forces or the intelligence services or a constable, which is likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or publishes or communicates information of that kind. This offence is based in part on the offence in section 103 of the 2000 Act (which ceased to have effect on 31 July 2007 by virtue of the Terrorism (Northern Ireland) Act 2006). A person who is able to prove that he had a reasonable excuse for his actions is able to rely on that as a defence. This must be read with section 118 of the 2000 Act as amended by section 76(3), the effect of which is to limit the burden on the accused to an evidential burden, so that if that person adduces evidence sufficient to raise an issue with respect this defence, the prosecution must then prove beyond reasonable doubt that there is no such defence. The offence is punishable with a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, or to a fine or both.
Schedule 8 – Offences relating to information about members of armed forces etc: supplementary provisions
205.New section 58A(5) of the 2000 Act adds supplementary provisions in an additional Schedule 8A to the 2000 Act (inserted by Schedule 8 to this Act). These provisions make the offence compliant with the “E-Commerce Directive” (Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (Official Journal L 178 17/07/2000 p.1-16)).
Section 77 – Terrorist property: disclosure of information about possible offences
206.Subsection (2) of this section makes a clarifying amendment to section 19(1) of the 2000 Act. This makes it clear that the offence in section 19 of failing to disclose a belief or suspicion of an offence under sections 15 to 18 (a terrorist finance offence) applies to all persons in employment, whether or not they are employed in a trade, profession or business.
207.Subsection (3) inserts a new section 23C into the 2000 Act defining “employment” and a corresponding definition of “employer” for the purposes of Part 3 of that Act (terrorist property). The definition is wider than the usual definition of employment, including contractors, office-holders (such as trustees of a charity), individuals on a formal work experience programme or training (for example an intern in a bank) and volunteers.
208.Subsection (4) makes transitional provision to the effect that, where the wider definition of employment catches a person it did not previously catch, that person will have a duty to inform of a belief or suspicion that a terrorist offence has been committed if they continue to hold that belief or suspicion after commencement, even if the information on which it is based came to the person before commencement.