Flanagan to seek fast-track of perjury bill

Flanagan to seek fast-track of perjury bill

Charlie Flanagan

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said he will seek to fast-track legislation to establish perjury as a statutory offence.

The Perjury and Related Offences Bill 2018 was introduced by Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh and has since been amended by the Government to broaden its scope.

The amended bill extends the perjury offence to include evidence given before commissions of investigation and tribunals of inquiry, and harmonises the maximum penalty on indictment with the equivalent maximum penalties for similar offences in the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004.

This stipulates that a person who commits an offence is liable, on summary conviction, to a class B fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both; and, on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both.

The bill will be debated at second stage in the Dáil tomorrow and Mr Ó Céidigh has said he wants to see it “enacted before Christmas”.

Mr Flanagan told the Irish Independent last night: “I will be leading the debate and it can be passed in a few days if Fianna Fáil support it.”

In the summer, Mr Flanagan said the law, which is widely supported by Irish insurers and businesses, “will deal with people who want to engage in fraudulent activity in the courts and will also act as a deterrent to those who wish to chance their arm”.

Stuart Gilhooly, former president of the Law Society, is among lawyers who have said they are unconvinced that the proposed law would help deal with fraudulent claims.

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