Attorney General v Cunningham

JurisdictionIreland
Judgment Date29 October 1932
Date29 October 1932
CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal (Irish Free State)

Court of Criminal Appeal.

Attorney-General v. Cunningham.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL
and
DANIEL CUNNINGHAM (1)

Criminal appeal - Indictable offence at common law - Breach of the peace - Firing into a dwelling-house - Sufficiency of indictment - "Description of the offence charged in an indictment" - "Statement of the offence" - Sentenced reversed by Court of Criminal Appeal - Accused ordered to enter into security to keep the peace, alternatively imprisonment ordered - Criminal Justice (Administration) Act 1924 (No. 44 of 1924), sect. 4;First Sch., Rule 4 - Indictment Rules, 1924 - Courts of Justice Act, 1924 (No. 10 of 1924), sect. 31.

Criminal Appeal.

Daniel Cunningham appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeal against his conviction in the Cork Circuit Court on the 4th day of June, 1931, on a charge of having "on the night of the 16th February, 1931, at Courtbrack, Blarney, in the County of Cork, a shot gun then loaded with gunpowder and leaden shot maliciously did shoot into the dwelling-house of one, William O'Donoghue."

Cunningham was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment with hard labour, but was admitted to bail, having obtained the following certificate from the Circuit Court Judge:—

"Whereas the said Daniel Cunningham was tried and convicted before me, the undersigned, in the said Court, on the 4th day of June, 1931, on an indictment charging him with firing into a dwelling-house, and was thereupon sentenced by me to twelve calendar months imprisonment with hard labour:

I do hereby certify that the case is a fit case for an appeal by the said Daniel Cunningham to the Court of Criminal Appeal under sect. 31 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924, upon the following grounds :—

Whether firing a gun into a dwelling-house occupied at the time is an offence indictable at common law notwithstanding that the jury found that the shot was fired without intent to injure the persons therein.

M. J. Kenny, Circuit Judge of Cork City and County."

There were four counts in the indictment: —(1) Shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm. (2) Causing an explosion with intent to do grievous bodily harm. (3) Causing damage by an explosion. (4) Firing into a dwelling-house. The jury returned a verdict of "not guilty" on the first three counts, and "guilty" on the fourth, in which the "particulars of offence" were stated as follows :— "Daniel Cunningham on the night of the 16th day of February, 1931, at Courtbrack, Blarney, in the County of Cork a shot gun then loaded with gunpowder and leaden shot maliciously did shoot into the dwelling-house of one, William O'Donoghue." The jury added to their verdict of guilty on this fourth count the rider:"Without intent to do grievous bodily harm." The four counts are set out in full in the judgment of the Court.

Sect. 4 of the Criminal Justice (Administration) Act, 1924 (No. 44 of 1924), provides:—

"4.—(1) Every indictment shall contain, and shall be sufficient if it contains, a statement of the specific offence or offences with which the accused person is charged, together with such particulars as may be necessary for giving reasonable information as to the nature of the charge.

(2) Notwithstanding any rule of law or practice, an indictment shall subject to the provisions of this Act, not be open to objection in respect of its form or contents if it is framed in accordance with the rules under this Act."

Rule 4 of the Rules in the First Schedule of the Act provides:—

"(1) A description of the offence charged in an indictment, or where more than one offence is charged in an indictment, of each offence so...

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26 cases
  • DPP v Fergal Cagney
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 27 July 2009
    ...with some considerable measure of certainty, what precisely is prohibited and what is lawful. Thus, in Attorney General v. Cunningham [1932] IR 28 O'Byrne J. said at the Court of Criminal Appeal: "The offence as charged in the indictment is one of maliciously firing into a dwellinghouse an......
  • DPP v Fergal Cagney
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 27 July 2009
    ...with some considerable measure of certainty, what precisely is prohibited and what is lawful. Thus, in Attorney General v. Cunningham [1932] IR 28 O'Byrne J. said at the Court of Criminal Appeal: "The offence as charged in the indictment is one of maliciously firing into a dwellinghouse an......
  • Min for Justice v Makuch
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 10 May 2013
    ...UNREP EDWARDS 7.10.2011 2011/37/10367 2011 IEHC 374 MARSH v ARSCOTT 1982 75 CR APP R 211 THORPE v DPP 2007 1 IR 502 AG v CUNNINGHAM 1932 IR 28 CRIMINAL JUSTICE (THEFT & FRAUD OFFENCES) ACT 2001 S14 EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT ACT 2003 S38(1)(A)(II) EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT ACT 20032003 PART 3 EU......
  • DPP v Judge Devins & O'M (M)
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 8 February 2012
    ...CORPUS JURIS SECUNDUM S224 KELLY IRISH CONSTITUTION 2003 1050 OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY 1993 DPP v CAGNEY 2008 2 IR 111 AG v CUNNINGHAM 1932 IR 28 KING v AG 1981 IR 233 DPP v FLANAGAN 1979 IR 265 CRIMINAL LAW (SEXUAL OFFENCES) ACT 1993 S14 CRIMINAL LAW (SEXUAL OFFENCES) ACT 1993 S3 INTE......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Bearing a Constitutional Cross: Examining Blasphemy and the Judicial Role in Corway v. Independent Newspapers
    • Ireland
    • Trinity College Law Review No. III-2000, January 2000
    • 1 January 2000
    ...Case 73 where the court determined the extent of the 67 For judicial endorsement of this principle see Attorney General v. Cunningham [1932] IR 28; The People (Attorney General) v. Edge [1943] IR 115; (1944) 78 ILTR 125; King v. Attorney General [1981] IR 223. See also Hogan and Whyte, Kell......
  • Common Law Offence: Breach of the Peace
    • United Kingdom
    • Sage Journal of Criminal Law, The No. 71-1, February 2007
    • 1 February 2007
    ...Irish authorities which, it was argued,established the existence of the offence at common law in Ireland. In Attorney-General vCunningham [1932] IR 28, the accused was foundguilty on indictment of ‘f‌iring into a dwelling house’. On appeal it wasadmitted by the Attorney-General that f‌iring......

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