Contempt laws should cover the use of social media during trials, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Josepha Madigan welcomed Chief Justice Susan Denham’s calls for law reform in this area, and said she is currently preparing legislation on the issue.
Deputy Madigan said: “I greatly welcome Justice Denham’s comments earlier today. As I have stated previously, there is a pressing need in Ireland for legislation to govern contempt of court and, in particular, comments on ongoing trials.
“This is essential in order to protect the right of everyone to a fair trial.
“Contempt in Ireland is not currently covered by legislation. I am currently preparing legislation to make Contempt of Court a statutory offence and to protect jurors from undue social media influence during trials.
“The Law Reform Commission has been calling for legislation to cover Contempt of Court since 1991 and the Supreme Court similarly called for legislation in 1999.
“As Justice Denham’s comments highlight, it is past time that we legislate for Contempt of Court to ensure that our laws suitably reflect the evolution of social media technology and its possible uses to unduly influence trials”.