908C Search warrants.
(1) In this section—
“the Acts” means the Waiver of Certain Tax, Interest and Penalties Act 1993 together with the meaning assigned to it in section 1078(1);
“authorised officer” means an officer of the Revenue Commissioners authorised by them in writing to exercise the powers conferred by this section;
“commission”, in relation to an offence, includes an attempt to commit the offence;
“computer” includes any electronic device capable of performing logical or arithmetical operations on data in accordance with a set of instructions;
“computer at the place which is being searched”, includes any other computer, whether at that place or at any other place, which is lawfully accessible by means of that computer;
“information in non-legible form” means information which is kept (by electronic means or otherwise) on microfilm, microfiche, magnetic tape or disk or in any other non-legible form;
“material” means any books, documents, records or other things (including a computer);
“offence” means an offence under the Acts;
“place” includes any building (or part of a building), dwelling, vehicle, vessel, aircraft or hovercraft and any other place whatsoever;
“record” includes any information in non-legible form which is capable of being reproduced in a permanently legible form.
(2) If a judge of the District Court is satisfied by information given on oath by an authorised officer that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting—
(a) that an offence is being, has been or is about to be committed, and
(b) (i) that material which is likely to be of value (whether by itself or together with other information) to the investigation of the offence, or
(ii) that evidence of, or relating to the commission of, the offence,
is to be found in any place,
the judge may issue a warrant for the search of that place, and of any thing and any persons, found there.
(3) A warrant issued under this section shall be expressed and shall operate to authorise the authorised officer, accompanied by such other named officers of the Revenue Commissioners and such other named persons as the authorised officer considers necessary—
(a) to enter, at any time or times within one month from the date of issuing of the warrant (if necessary by the use of reasonable force), the place named in the warrant,
(b) to search, or cause to be searched, that place and any thing and any persons, found there, but no person shall be searched except by a person of the same sex unless express or implied consent is given,
(c) to require any person found there—
(i) to give his or her name, home address and occupation to the authorised officer, and
(ii) to produce to the authorised officer any material which is in the custody or possession of that person,
(d) to examine, seize and retain (or cause to be examined, seized and retained) any material found there, or in the possession of a person present there at the time of the search, which the authorised officer reasonably believes—
(i) is likely to be of value (whether by itself or together with other information) to the investigation of the offence, or
(ii) to be evidence of, or relating to the commission of, the offence, and
(e) to take any other steps which may appear to the authorised officer to be necessary for preserving any such material and preventing interference with it.
(4) The authority conferred by subsection (3)(d) to seize and retain (or to cause to be seized and retained) any material includes—
(a) in the case of books, documents or records, authority to make and retain a copy of the books, documents or records, and
(b) where necessary, authority to seize and, for as long as necessary, retain, any computer or other storage medium in which records are kept and to copy such records.
(5) An authorised officer acting under the authority of a warrant issued under this section may—
(a) operate any computer at the place which is being searched or cause any such computer to be operated by a person accompanying the authorised officer, and
(b) require any person at that place who appears to the authorised officer to be in a position to facilitate access to the information held in any such computer or which can be accessed by the use of that computer—
(i) to give to the authorised officer any password necessary to operate it,
(ii) otherwise to enable the authorised officer to examine the information accessible by the computer in a form in which the information is visible and legible, or
(iii) to produce the information in a form in which it can be removed and in which it is, or can be made, visible and legible.
(6) A person who—
(a) obstructs or attempts to obstruct the exercise of a right of entry and search conferred by virtue of a warrant issued under this section,
(b) obstructs the exercise of a right so conferred to examine, seize and retain material,
(c) fails to comply with a requirement under subsection (3)(c) or gives to the authorised officer a name, address or occupation that is false or misleading, or
(d) fails to comply with a requirement under subsection (5)(b),
is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding
>€3,000< or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both the fine and the imprisonment.
(7) Where an authorised officer enters, or attempts to enter, any place in the execution of a warrant issued under subsection (2), the authorised officer may be accompanied by a member or members of the Garda Síochána, and any such member may arrest without warrant any person who is committing an offence under subsection (6) or whom the member suspects, with reasonable cause, of having done so.
(8) Any material which is seized under subsection (3) which is required for the purposes of any legal proceedings by an officer of the Revenue Commissioners or for the purpose of any criminal proceedings, may be retained for so long as it is reasonably required for the purposes aforesaid.