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Court sets aside conviction for refusing to answer

The appellant was stopped in his car by police on 11th March 2014 under the Justice and Security Act 2007.  When asked to provide details of his movements, he stated that he was going to his mother’s home but refused to provide her address.  The police informed him that it was an offence to refuse to give them this information under the 2007 Act.  He refused and was arrested under the Police (NI) Act 1998 for obstruction of a police officer in the due execution of his duty and fined £50.

The offence of obstructing a police officer carries a heavier penalty than the refusal to provide information under the Justice and Security Act 2007.  

On 14th March 2016, Mr Justice Treacy, delivering the judgment of the Court of Appeal, held that the failure to provide details of movements under the 2007 Act could not independently amount to the offence of obstruction under the Police Act.  The appellant could only be convicted and sentenced under the 2007 Act which created the offence and specified the penalty.

You may access the case summary here.

Criminal Law, Local Developments