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Paul Faith/PA Wire

Over 50 convictions for witness, jury intimidation since 2006

Figures released by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter this week show that of 186 proceedings brought for alleged intimidation since 2006, 56 resulted in a conviction.

FIGURES RELEASED by the Minister for Justice show that in the last five years almost 200 legal proceedings have been brought against people suspected of threatening witnesses to a crime or members of a jury.

Responding to a question from Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan in the Dáil on Thursday, Minster Alan Shatter said that gardaí do not maintain records that divide instances of jury intimidation from witness intimidation.

He also said that given the nature of the offence, it was more difficult for authorities to discern jury intimidation, but that “the gardaí rigorously enforce the provisions of the law relating to witness and jury intimidation and, of course, will continue to do so.”

Under Section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1999, it is an offence to intimidate or put fear into a person assisting a garda investigation, or who is a potential witness, a juror or a potential juror. It also says it is an offence to do so to their family.

So far this year, the 33 proceedings brought under the provisions of Section 41 have resulted in 6 convictions.

Last year saw 43 cases being taken to court, leading to 17 convictions. To date since 2006, 56 convictions have arisen from 186 court proceedings for witness intimidation and the interference of juries.

A conviction under Section 41 carries a penalty of up to 15 years. The term was increased from ten years in 2009.