Brannigan v the Dublin Corporation

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court (Irish Free State)
Judgment Date03 March 1927
Date03 March 1927
Docket Number(1924.—No. 11,828.)

Supreme Court.

(1924.—No. 11,828.)
Brannigan v. The Dublin Corporation
MARY ANNE BRANNIGAN
Plaintiff
and
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORD MAYOR, ALDERMEN, AND BURGESSES OF DUBLIN, Defendants (1)

Trespass - Sanitary authority - Dumping refuse - No leave or licence - Statutory duty or authority - Public Health (Ir.) Act, 1878 (41 & 42Vict. c. 52), sects. 52, 55 - Public Authorities Protection Act, 1893 (56 & 57 Vict. c. 61), sect. 1.

New Trial Motion.

This was a motion by the defendants for an order that the verdict and findings of the jury, and the judgment and order of Sullivan P. in favour of the plaintiff be set aside, and that, in lieu thereof, judgment be entered for the defendants; or, in the alternative, that a new trial be ordered.

The plaintiff, Mary Anne Brannigan, who resided at Donore Avenue, in the City of Dublin, brought an action against the defendants, the Corporation of Dublin, claiming £1,000 for trespass upon her lands by the servants of the Corporation. The acts of trespass complained of were that the defendants had broken down and destroyed the walls of a field belonging to the plaintiff, and had broken down a gate and piers, and that they had deposited large quantities of rubbish, broken stones, and noxious matter upon her lands. According to particulars furnished, the trespasses commenced in May, 1922, and continued down to the month of February, 1924. On December 19th, 1924, the writ was issued. The defendants denied the trespasses, and pleaded that they did what was complained of by the leave and licence of the plaintiff. They also relied on the Public Authorities Protection Act, 1893 (56 & 57 Vict. c. 61). The action was tried before Sullivan P. and a special jury of the City of Dublin on November 5th and 10th, 1925. A sufficient outline of the evidence is contained in the judgment of FitzGibbon J.

The questions submitted to the jury, together with the answers, were as follows:—1. "Did the defendants' servants enter upon the plaintiff's lands and dump rubbish thereon?"Answer: "Yes." 2. "Did the defendants' servants injure a pier of the plaintiff's gate?" Answer: "Yes." 3. "If so, were such acts done with the leave and licence of the plaintiff?"Answer: "No." 4. Assess damages (a) for dumping the rubbish? Answer: "£50"; (b) for injuring the pier? Answer:"£5." Upon these findings the jury found for the plaintiff, with £55 damages, and the learned Judge gave judgment accordingly.

The defendants' motion was founded upon the grounds that the verdict and findings were against evidence, and the weight of evidence; that the trial was unsatisfactory; that the verdict of the jury was perverse; and that the learned Judge did not leave the question to the jury whether the deposit of rubbish, &c., was made in pursuance, or execution, or intended execution, of an Act of Parliament, or of any public duty or authority.

By sect. 52 of the Public Health (Ir.) Act, 1878 (41 & 42 Vict. c. 52), a sanitary authority is to provide for the cleansing of the streets and the removal of refuse, and all matters collected may be sold or otherwise disposed of. Sect. 1 of the Public Authorities Protection Act, 1893 (56 & 57 Vict. c. 61), provides that an action shall not lie against any person for"any act done in pursuance, or execution, or intended execution of any Act of Parliament, or of any public duty or authority, or in respect of any alleged neglect or default in the execution of any such Act, duty, or authority" "unless it is commenced within six months next after the act, neglect, or default complained of, or, in case of a continuance of injury or damage, within six months next after the ceasing thereof."

Between May, 1922, and February, 1924, the defendants, the Dublin Corporation, by their servants, deposited rubbish, broken stones, and noxious matter upon the plaintiff's lands. On December 19th, 1924, the plaintiff issued a writ against the defendants, claiming damages for trespass. The defendants, in addition to traverses, pleaded leave and licence, and relied upon the Public Authorities Protection Act, 1893. Upon...

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