Top barrister rejects case for new anti-gang laws

Garnet Orange SC
Garnet Orange SC

A leading barrister and drug crime expert has said gardaí need more resources to tackle gang-related crime and not legislative changes, the Irish Independent reports.

Garnet Orange SC said: “The guards don’t need new powers, they don’t need new laws. They need resources, they need boots on the ground.”

Mr Orange also said that current anti-gang laws were tougher than anti-terrorism laws, but were rarely used by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

He pointed to the low number of convictions under anti-gang laws introduced in 2006 and 2007, such as the Criminal Justice Act 2006.

The laws allow gardaí of any rank to give opinion evidence of whether they believe someone is in a criminal organisation.

Mr Orange said: “It allows you to present evidence from an ordinary guard, which would otherwise be regarded as hearsay.

“He can say ‘yes, I’m constantly seeing these people together, they’re constantly seen driving together and I know he’s got a house in Marbella even though he’s drawing social welfare’.”