Director of Public Prosecutions -v- Doyle, [2017] IESC 1 (2017)

Docket Number:40/2015
Party Name:Director of Public Prosecutions, Doyle

THE SUPREME COURTAppeal No. 40/2015

Denham C.J.

O’Donnell J.

McKechnie J.

MacMenamin J.

Laffoy J.

Charleton J.

O’Malley J.


The People (at the suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions)Prosecutor/Respondentand

Barry DoyleAccused/Appellant

Judgment delivered on the 18th day of January, 2017 by Denham C.J.

  1. Barry Doyle, the accused/appellant, referred to as “the appellant”, was granted leave to appeal to this Court from the decision of the Court of Appeal of the 8th June, 2015: [2015] IESCDET 45. The Director of Public Prosecutions, the prosecutor/respondent, is referred to as “the DPP”.

  2. The issues upon which leave to appeal was granted were:-

    (i) Whether or not the appellant was, in the circumstances of this case, entitled to consult with a solicitor, and have a solicitor present, prior to and during the 15th interview with the Garda Síochána, during which admissions were alleged to have been made. This raises the question of whether the right to have a solicitor present during questioning is a matter of right of the detained person, or a matter of concession by the Garda Síochána.

    I shall refer to this issue as “the presence of a solicitor” issue.

    (ii) Whether the appellant, in all the circumstances, including that he was convicted in the Central Criminal Court on the 15th February, 2012, and the decision of the Supreme Court in DPP v. Damache was delivered on the 23rd February, 2012, can rely on that decision on his appeal.

    I shall refer to this issue as “the Damache” issue.

    (iii) Whether the matters set out in the appellant’s application under the heading “Relevant facts considered not to be in dispute”, or any of them, constituted threats or inducements made to the appellant and calculated to extract a confession from him. This is a matter not decided by the Court of trial or the Court of Appeal. Secondly, if they do constitute such threats or inducements, whether their effect had “dissipated” or “worn off” by the time of the admissions relied upon by the State, as held by the trial judge; and whether or not there was any evidence on which it could have been determined that the effect of the said threats or inducements (if any) had “dissipated” or “worn off” by the time of the alleged admissions.

    I shall refer to this as “the threats and inducement” issues.

    Factual Background

  3. The factual background was stated in the judgment of the President of the Court of Appeal, delivered on the 8th June, 2015. Commencing at paragraph 7, Ryan P. held:-

    “7. Two teams of two Gardaí each carried out the interrogation of the appellant. It was slow going at first because he was unwilling to engage with his interviewers. Their efforts were directed in the first instance at getting him to talk to them about himself and his relationships, including those with his children and with Victoria Gunnery. He was reluctant to engage with them but the Gardaí persisted. Mr. Doyle had brief consultations with a solicitor. All of the interviews were video-recorded.

  4. The appellant’s attitude changed at interview 15, which began at 19.42 on 26th February 2009. In the previous interview that concluded at 18.35, Mr. Doyle...

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