Sir, – While Fintan O’Toole is spot-on in recognising that our main problem with the laws of perjury is cultural, any suggestion we don’t need a statutory offence of perjury on the books is folly (Weekend Review, June 22nd).
It is both a mystery and a scandal that section 14 of the 2004 Civil Liability and Courts Act has not once been used to prosecute a fraudulent personal injuries claimant, despite hundreds of blatant examples.
The Garda Síochána can blame neither resources, time, nor training for this failure. This is a crime that does not require Hercule Poirot levels of detective work, nor indeed much time. It requires only will.
The most important function of Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh’s Bill will be to set in statute an offence that has been around in one form or another since 1540. But crucially, it has never been defined in law, a fact that has made it extremely difficult to prosecute.
Lastly, we absolutely concur with his injunction that the new statutory offence should not be reserved just for the ordinary “chancers”. Until we imprison our own Jeffrey Archer or Jonathan Aitken for perjury, we will continue to have a monumental problem with people who lie on oath for personal gain. – Yours,etc,