Dáil Éireann - Volume 613 - 02 February, 2006
Written Answers. - Criminal Prosecutions.
Mr. Sargent Mr. Sargent
14. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason possession of small quantities of cannabis was removed from the list of offences which will be covered by the adult caution system to be initiated by the Garda Síochána in the coming weeks; his plans to introduce a separate caution scheme for possession of small quantities of cannabis in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3578/06]
Mr. McDowell Mr. McDowell
Mr. McDowell: The adult cautioning scheme referred to by the Deputy is an initiative of the Garda authorities developed in conjunction with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. This initiative, for which the Garda authorities and the DPP are to be commended, is a response to a recommendation in the 1999 Nally Report on the Public Prosecution System that “as a measure to reduce the volume of cases prosecuted through the courts, a system should be introduced whereby offenders would, in certain circumstances specified from time to time by the Director of Public Prosecutions, be issued with warnings instead of being prosecuted”.
The scheme makes provision for the administering of a caution by a senior Garda officer for certain minor offences, as an alternative to prosecution in the District Court, where prosecution is not required by the public interest and it is determined that a caution would be an effective response.
The schedule of offences to which the scheme applies covers certain offences under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1984, the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001, the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003, the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 and the Criminal Damage Act 1991. It was initially proposed to include in the scheme offences under section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 to 1984 related to the possession of cannabis. However, the Garda Commissioner has indicated that he has decided to withdraw such offences from the scope of the scheme for the moment pending consultations within the Garda Síochána and with the DPP and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.
 Any proposal to expand the scheme in the future is a matter, in the first instance, for the Garda authorities and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Dáil Éireann 613 Written Answers. Criminal Prosecutions.