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The Police (Property) Act 1897

The Police (Property) Act 1897 applies to property which has come into the possession of the Garda Siochana in relation to any criminal charge.

Under section 1(1) of the Act, either the Garda or a person claiming ownership of the property can make an application to the District Court for the property to be delivered to person the Court appearing to the Court to be the owner of the property, or if the Court cannot ascertain who the owner is, to make an order for disposal of the property in whatever way the Court sees fit.

Note that these applications are civil cases, and are within the scope of the Act. Applications are subject to the usual means and merits criteria. However it is not expected that legal aid would be granted to a Garda taking such an action in the course of his duty.

If an order is granted it does not stop a person taking legal proceedings to recover the property, as long as such proceedings are commenced within six months of the order being made. Applications for civil legal services can also be made for these proceedings however such applications are to be classified as High Risk and the statute expiry date set for six months from the date the order was made.