O'Donovan, Murphy & Company ney-General

CourtHigh Court
Judgment Date12 October 1938
Date12 October 1938

High Court.

O'Croinin v. Brennan
P. O'CROININ and G. T. QUINN, Complainants V. M. L. BRENNAN, Defendant (1)

Revenue - Customs duties - "Knowingly keeping and harbouring uncustomed goods" - Proceedings for recovery of penalty under s. 186 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876 - Whether of a civil or criminal nature - Mens rea - Onus of proof - Presumptions that goods have been imported and imported without payment of duty - Customs Consolidation Act, 1876 (39 & 40 Vict. c. 36), ss. 186 and 259 - Finance Act, 1936 (No. 31 of1936), s. 20.

Case Stated by Matthew J. Hannan, District Justice, for the opinion of the High Court. The Case Stated was as follows:—

"1. At a sitting of Court No. 2 of the District Court for the District Court Area of Dublin Metropolitan District (No. 31) at Inns Quay, Dublin, on the 29th November, 1937, and by subsequent adjournments to the 27th January, 1938, the defendant appeared before me charged with the following offences, viz.:—

'That you did knowingly harbour and keep uncustomed goods to wit:—[here were set out particulars of the goods, viz., razor blades, laces and cutlery] found in your motor car, E.Z. 3949, at Upper Ormond Quay, Dublin, on the 27th November, 1937, contrary to s. 186 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876.'

Mr. Joseph Geraghty appeared for the complainants and Mr. Patrick McGilligan appeared for the defendant, instructed by Mr. J. J. O'Connor, Solicitor.

Mr. Geraghty handed in the direction and election of the Revenue Commissioners which is annexed to and forms part of this Case. Some of the seized cartons of 'Speedway' '7 o'clock,' 'Minora,' and 'New Gilette' razor blades and of the boxes and parcels of cutlery and of the bootlaces were produced in part and identified by the officer of Customs and Excise who seized them.

2. The following facts (inter alia) were proved:—

(a) All the goods referred to in par. 1 of this Case were found by Mr. O'Croinin, an officer of Customs and Excise, in the possession and control of the defendant on the 27th November, 1937, at Ormond Quay, Dublin. The said goods were found in a motor car, E.Z. 3949 (a Ford 8 h.p., 4-door, saloon, the property of the defendant and registered in Belfast), and same were seized and defendant arrested as he was about to unlock the door of the car and enter same at Ormond Quay on Saturday, 27th November, 1937, between 9 and 10 p.m.

The interior of defendant's car at the back was packed with the said goods up to the level of the top of the back seats, with the result that there was no room for passengers in the back seats of the car. At the request of Mr. O'Croinin the defendant' drove his car to the Castle accompanied by a detective officer, Mr. O'Croinin and others following in a police car.

The knives seized were counted in the defendant's presence by Mr. O'Croinin and found by the latter to amount to 59 dozen. Mr. O'Croinin asked defendant if that was the correct number and defendant replied 'There should be five gross less half a dozen, that's what I paid for.' Mr. O'Croinin counted the spoons seized and found 23 dozen. He asked defendant if that number was correct and defendant replied 'There should be 24 dozen spoons, that's what I paid for.' Sub-sequently the missing dozen spoons were found in a pocket of defendant's car.

(b) The prices marked on the cartons of razor blades and the small packets containing the blades were the current English and Belfast prices of same on the corresponding cartons and packets issued by distributors for sale in the Irish Free State. All the cartons of Minora blades bore a secret mark indicating that the said cartons had been supplied by Messrs. R. J. Groves & Sons of 8 College Square, North, Belfast, to Messrs. Thomas McMullen & Co., Ltd., of 42 Victoria Street, Belfast.

(c) The seized razor blades were made in England and the cutlery was of foreign make. No evidence was given as to where the bootlaces were manufactured or that same had been imported.

All the seized goods were dutiable at and prior to the date on which they were seized, that is to say, they came within the description of goods on which a duty of customs was then in force, and the various Acts and Statutory Orders imposing such duties were produced in Court.

3. Other evidence was given on behalf of the complainants which does not appear to me to be relevant to the questions of law hereby submitted to the Court for determination; and counsel on behalf of the complainants referred (inter alia) to the provisions of s. 259 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876 (1); the Adaptation of Enactments Act, 1922; Customs (Land Frontier) Regulations, 1923, and s. 20...

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7 cases
  • Attorney General v Deignan
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 26 Abril 1946
    ...of the same kind in the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876."Frailey v. CharltonELR, [1920] 1 K.B. 147, approved. O'Croinin v. BrennanIR, [1939] I.R. 274, distinguished. (H.C., S.C.), Attorney-General and Deignan - Evasion of duty - "Did knowingly harbour uncustomed goods" - Proceedings for rec......
  • Murphy v GM
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 18 Octubre 2001
    ...criminal proceedings and discharged the conditional order, following an earlier decision of a divisional court in O'Croinin .v. Brennan (1939) IR 274. On appeal, the Supreme Court by a majority (Sullivan C.J., Murnaghan and Geoghegan JJ., O'Byrne and Black JJ. dissenting) held that the proc......
  • McLoughlin v Tuite
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 1 Enero 1986
    ...ACT 1967 S516 MCDONALD V BORD NA gCON 1965 IR 217, 100 ILTR 89 MELLING V O MATHGHAMHNA 1962 IR 1, 97 ILTR 60 O'CROININ & QUINN V BRENNAN 1939 IR 274 SHERRY'S CASE 25 CH 692 Synopsis: CONSTITUTION Trial of offences Criminal charge - Meaning - Revenue - Income tax - Income - Annual return - F......
  • Melling v O Mathghamhna
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 8 Febrero 1961
    ...done "knowingly" and "with intent to evade the prohibition or restriction". Frailing v. Charlton 1920 1 K.B. 147. If O'Connor v. Brennan 1939 I. R. 274 purports to decide that mens rea is not a necessary ingredient of an offence under section 186 I would not regard it as correctly decided. ......
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