Application of Woods

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court
Judgment Date19 December 1970
Docket Number[1967. No. 167 SS.]
Date19 December 1970

Supreme Court

[1967. No. 167 SS.]
Application of Woods
Application of MICHAEL WOODS

State side - Habeas corpus - Multiple applications - Res judicata - Application made by stranger as agent of prisoner - Transfer of prisoner to another prison - Transfer order - Attempt to steal - Sentence of penal servitude - Whether sentence unconstitutional - Domestic law - Rules for the Government of Prisons, 1947 (S.R. & O. No. 320 of 1947) - Criminal Justice Administration Act, 1914 (4 & 5 Geo. 5, c. 58), s. 17 (3) - Ministers and Secretaries Act,1924 (No. 16 of 1924), s. 15 - Constitution of Ireland, Articles 29, 34, 40.

Habeas Corpus.

In the month of November, 1967, Michael Woods (the applicant) was serving a sentence of six years penal servitude in Portlaoise Prison; he had been the prosecutor in The State (M. Woods) v.Kelly.1 On the 3rd November Mr. Richard Tynan, acting on behalf of Woods, applied ex parte to the High Court (Kenny J.) for an order of habeas corpus in respect of the detention of Woods, and that application was refused. On the 6th November Tynan again applied ex parte to the High Court (O'Keeffe P.) for an order of habeas corpus in respect of the detention of Woods, and that application was also refused. At that time, apart from the assertion of Tynan, there does not appear to have been any evidence that Tynan had been authorised by Woods to act for him. Tynan brought an appeal ex parte to the Supreme Court against such refusals and the hearing of the appeal commenced on the 9th November and continued on the 10th November when the Supreme Court directed that the hearing of the appeal should be adjourned, that Woods should be brought before the Court, and that notice of the proceedings should be given to the Attorney General. On the 4th December Woods was brought in custody before the Court where he stated that he wished Tynan to conduct the appeal on his behalf, and on that date counsel for the Attorney General also appeared in order to assist the Court. The eight grounds of appeal which appear in the judgments, post, were formulated by Tynan.

Section 4, sub-s. 2, of Article 40 of the Constitution of Ireland provides as follows:—"Upon complaint being made by or on behalf of any person to the High Court or any judge thereof alleging that such person is being unlawfully detained, the High Court and any and every judge thereof to whom such complaint is made shall forthwith enquire into the said complaint and may order the person in whose custody such person is detained to produce the body of such person before the High Court on a named day and to certify in writing the grounds of his detention, and the High Court shall, upon the body of such person being produced before that Court and after giving the person in whose custody he is detained an opportunity of justifying the detention, order the release of such person from such detention unless satisfied that he is being detained in accordance with the law."

Article 29, s. 6, of the Constitution of Ireland provides that:—"No international agreement shall be part of the domestic law of the State save as may be determined by the Oireachtas."

The order of the Minister for Justice, mentioned in the judgmentspost, was in the following terms:—

"The Minister for Justice in exercise of the powers conferred on him by subsection (3) of section 17 of the Criminal Justice (Administration) Act, 1914, as modified by section 43 of that Act and as adapted by section 11 of the Adaptation of Enactments Act, 1922, directs that Michael Woods who, pursuant to warrant dated 14th day of July, 1964, issued by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court is detained in Mountjoy Prison for a period of 6 years from the 14th day of July, 1964, be removed from the said Mountjoy Prison to Portlaoise Prison, there to be imprisoned until the expiration of the said period.

Dated this 16th day of July, 1964.

For the Minister for Justice.

(Signed) J. J. McCarthy

(A person authorised in this behalf

by the said Minister)."

The applicant had been convicted of breaking and entering an office with intent to commit a felony therein and had been sentenced to six years penal servitude on foot of that conviction; on the same occasion he had been convicted of attempting to steal money and for that offence he was sentenced to a concurrent term of three years penal servitude. The applicant was lodged in Mountjoy Prison pursuant to a warrant in execution of the sentences and then he was transferred to Portlaoise Prison on the authority of an order of the Minister for Justice made under s. 17(3) of the Criminal Justice Administration Act, 1914. In habeas corpus proceedings brought by the applicant in the year 1965, the applicant had challenged on certain grounds the lawfulness of his detention under the warrant and the transfer order and, having considered such grounds, both the High Court and the Supreme Court had then found the applicant's detention to be lawful. In the year 1967 two applications for an order of habeas corpus in respect of the same detention of the applicant were made ex parte in the High Court by a stranger, acting on behalf of the applicant, on grounds which included some that had been ruled by the Supreme Court in 1965; and those applications were refused by the High Court. On appeal it was

Held by the Supreme Court ( Ó Dálaigh ó dálaigh C.J., Haugh, Walsh, Budd and FitzGerald J.J), in dismissing the appeal, 1, that a complaint under Article 40, s. 4, sub-s. 2, of the Constitution which alleged that a person was being detained unlawfully could be made to the High Court by a stranger acting on behalf of that person.

2. That the decision of the Supreme Court in the appeal of 1965 was final, and conclusive of the lawfulness of the applicant's detention, only in regard to the particular grounds raised during that appeal and ruled in the judgments then delivered by the Supreme Court.

The State (M. Woods) v. Kelly [1969] I.R. 269 considered.

3. That a sentence of penal servitude for the offence of attempting to steal was unlawful; but that a sentence of penal servitude was not unconstitutionalper se.

4. That the transfer order was regular on its face and it was not necessary that it should be addressed to any person.

5. That the reliance of the applicant upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was misplaced as that Declaration had not been made part of the domestic law of the State.

In re Ó Laighléis ó laighléis [1960] I.R. 93 applied.

6. That, accordingly, no sufficient grounds had been established to justify the Court in assigning solicitor and counsel to the applicant in reliance upon the undertaking of the Attorney General to defray the costs of such assignment.

Cur. adv. vult.

Ó Dálaigh C.J. ó dálaigh :—

These appeals are made in respect of two orders of the High Court of which the first is dated the 3rd November, 1967, and was made by Mr. Justice Kenny; the second is dated the 6th November, 1967, and was made by the President. Both orders were made on foot of applications for habeas corpus which Richard Tynan purported to move on behalf of Michael Woods, who was then detained in Portlaoise Prison.

In moving before Mr. Justice Kenny, Mr. Tynan said that he was making a complaint under Article 40, s. 4, sub-s. 2, of the Constitution on behalf of Michael Woods. Mr. Justice Kenny said that Mr. Tynan's statement was the only evidence which he (the judge) had of Mr. Tynan's authority, that this was insufficient, and that he was not prepared to accept Mr. Tynan's statement as to his authority. Mr. Justice Kenny added that he did not accept that the offence stated in the warrant for the detention of Michael Woods was unknown to the law, and he said that s. 27 of the Larceny Act, 1916, made it clear that there is an offence of office breaking. Accordingly, he refused the application sought.

The President, in a report furnished by him to the Court in respect of the application made to him, says that during the course of the application it appeared that Michael Woods had earlier applied to the High Court under Article 40, s. 4, sub-s. 2, of the Constitution in respect of his detention in the same prison and under the same warrant, that he had appealed from the refusal of the High Court to order his release, and that the Supreme Court had disallowed the appeal. It appeared to the President to follow from this that the Supreme Court had determined that it was satisfied that Michael Woods was detained in accordance with law in the custody and under the warrant already mentioned and that, having regard to Article 34, s. 4, sub-s. 6, of the Constitution which states that "The decision of the Supreme Court shall in all cases be final and conclusive," he had no jurisdiction to entertain the application which would amount to an appeal from the earlier decision of the Supreme Court. Therefore, he refused to entertain the application.

Mr. Tynan has appealed to this Court against the refusals of Mr. Justice Kenny and of the President. The Court directed that the applicant, Michael Woods, should be brought to Court on the hearing of these appeals and directed that notice should be served on the Attorney General. When the appeals were called, the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
38 cases
  • O'Keeffe v Governor of St. Patrick's Institution
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 13 December 2005
    ...S2 DE BURCA, STATE v O HUADHAIGH 1976 IR 85 FEENEY v DISTRICT JUSTICE CLIFFORD 1989 IR 668 ROYLE, STATE v KELLY 1974 IR 259 WOODS, IN RE 1970 IR 154 O'CONNOR IRISH JUSTICE OF THE PEACE 1915 206 COURTS ACT 1971 S13 R v KIELY 1989 11 CR APP R (S) 273 CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1951 S1 CRIMINAL J......
  • Carroll v Governor of Mountjoy Prison
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 12 January 2005
    ...S25 RSC O.86 r36 O'MALLEY SENTENCING LAW AND PRACTICE 2000 ED PARA 10-29 R v GOV OF LEWES PRISON EX PARTE DOYLE 1917 2 KB 254 WOODS, IN RE 1970 IR 154 EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT ACT 2001 BLACKHALL, STATE v MANGAN 1952 87 ILTR 6 MCCARTHY, STATE v GOVERNOR OF MOUNTJOY PRISON 1997 2 ILRM 361 MCD......
  • O'C (J) v DPP
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 8 October 2002
    ...O'C APPLICANT AND THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS RESPONDENT Citations: CRIMINAL LUNATICS ACT 1800 S2 APPLICATION OF MICHAEL WOODS, RE 1970 IR 154 RYAN & MAGEE THE IRISH CRIMINAL PROCESS 1983 269 O'CONNELL, STATE V FAWSITT 1986 IR 362 Synopsis: JUDICIAL REVIEW Prohibition Criminal law......
  • Attorney General v Anthony Abimbola
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 28 November 2007
    ...of Charles K. Wilson (Unreported, Supreme Court, 11th July, 1968). Woodhall (Alice), Ex parte (1888) 20 Q.B.D. 832. Application of Woods [1970] I.R. 154. Yat Tung Investment Co. Ltd. v. Dao Henk Bank Ltd [1975] A.C. 581; [1975] 2 W.L.R. 690. Criminal law - Extradition - Issue estoppel - Pre......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • The Courts Make a New Friend? Amicus Curiae Jurisdiction in Ireland
    • Ireland
    • Trinity College Law Review Nbr. VII-2004, January 2004
    • 1 January 2004
    ...article. All errors and omissions remain my own. 1 Brady v. Cavan County Council [1999] 4 IR 99; [2000] 1 ILRM 81; Application of Woods 1970] IR 154; Application of Mc Loughlin [1970] IR 197. [2004] 1 ILRM 27; [2003] IESC 38, [hereinafter Iwala]. C 2004 Zeldine O'Brien and Dublin University......
  • The Success Of The ECHR
    • Ireland
    • Cork Online Law Review Nbr. 6-2007, January 2007
    • 1 January 2007
    ...(speaking for the former Supreme Court) at pp. 124-125. This decision was approved by the present Supreme Court in Application of Woods [1970] IR 154. 129Ireland became the last contracting party to incorporate the ECHR into Domestic law, having been among the first to sign the Convention a......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT