Attorney General v Conlon

JurisdictionIreland
Judgment Date27 July 1937
Date27 July 1937
CourtHigh Court

High Court.

Attorney-General v. Conlon.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Complainant
and
PETER CONLON, Defendant (1)

District Court - Jurisdiction - Indictable offence - Opinion of District Justice that the offence was a "minor offence fit to be tried summarily" - Consent of the defendant to be so tried - Period of six months within which complaint must be made in the case of summary offences - Whether a matter of jurisdiction or of defence - Courts of Justice Act, 1924 (No. 10of 1924), sect. 77b - Petty Sessions (Ir.) Act, 1851 (14 & 15 Vict. c. 93),sect. 10, sub-sect. 4 - Courts of Justice Act, 1928 (No. 15 of 1928), sect.21, sub-sect. 2.

Case Stated by the District Justice for District No. 6, County of Louth, District Court Area of Dundalk.

The material facts as set out in the Case Stated were as follows:—

"1. On the 22nd day of March—as appears from the deposition of Guard John McKiernan, one, Peter Conlon, of 44 O'Hanlon Park, Dundalk, was duly arrested and charged that: 'at Dundalk, during the early part of 1936, you did unlawfully and feloniously steal, take and carry away a pocket-wallet, value for £1, the property of Thomas Keogh.' At a Special Court held on the same day

before Mr. McGooey, Peace Commissioner, the said defendant was duly remanded on continuing bail to the next sittings of the Dundalk District Court, to be held on the 24th day of March, 1937.

2. On the said 24th day of March the hearing of the complaint was adjourned to the 31st day of March, when defendant duly appeared, represented by Mr. Goodlet Hamill, solicitor. On the case being mentioned for further adjournment to the 7th day of April following—it not being possible to deal with it that day—the question of its disposal summarily, under sect. 77b of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924, arose, and thereupon Superintendent McDonagh, of the Civic Guard, suggested that the official view was that summary trial under the said section was ousted by sect. 10, sub-sect. 4, of the Petty Sessions (Ir.) Act, 1851, in that case, the alleged offence having been committed—as will appear from a statement made by the defendant, and subsequently put in evidence—in or about April, 1936, i.e., more than six months before the arrest of Conlon. After some discussion the case was further adjourned to the 7th instant, on the understanding that in the meantime both the solicitor for the defendant, and myself, should consider the position.

3. Having fully considered the matter, I formed the opinion that, while the official view, as stated by Superintendent McDonagh, viz., that, once the charge became triable summarily, it came automatically...

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