Donovan v Best

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court (Irish Free State)
Judgment Date23 June 1926
Date23 June 1926
Docket Number(1926. No. 15184.)

Supreme Court.

(1926. No. 15184.)
Donohoe v. Best.
JOHN DONOHOE
Plaintiff
and
JAMES BEST
Defendant.

Practice - Transfer of action - Action commenced in High Court - Transfer to Circuit Court - Action for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution - Sufficiency of evidence - Whether prima facie case made out - Measure of damages - Whether verdict for over £300 would be set aside - Courts of Justice Act, 1924 (No. 10 of 1924), sect. 25.

Motion to transfer.

The plaintiff, John Donohoe, issued a writ on 23rd November, 1925, claiming damages for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution against the defendant, James Best. In his statement of claim, the plaintiff stated that on 27th May, 1925, the defendant assaulted him, and gave him into the custody of a policeman upon false charges then made by the defendant, namely—(a) of feloniously breaking and entering the Irish Casing Company Store at Arbour Hill, by forcing a boarded window, and stealing therefrom 300 bundles of sheep casings, value £150; and (b) of having portion of the sheep casings illegally in his possession on 26th May, 1925, and selling them to Mr. Cosgrove, pork butcher, Ranelagh, for £70, and caused him (the plaintiff) to be imprisoned in the Bridewell in the County of the City of Dublin until the following day. On the following day the plaintiff was brought in custody before a District Justice on the said charges, and the defendant falsely and maliciously, and without reasonable or probable cause, preferred the said charges against the plaintiff before a District Justice, presiding at Inns Quay Police Court, in the County of the City of Dublin, before whom the plaintiff was brought in custody, and the defendant procured the said District Justice to remand the plaintiff (bail being granted); and, after several other remands, the defendant, by false and malicious representations, procured the said District Justice to return the plaintiff for trial on the said charges to the Circuit Court of the City of Dublin, where, on 14th July, 1925, the plaintiff was put on trial for the said or kindred offences and crimes, and acquitted thereof.

The particulars of special damages claimed by the plaintiff were:—Legal costs and expenses incurred in connection with the foregoing criminal proceedings, £21. The plaintiff claimed £500 damages.

The defendant moved to transfer the action to the Circuit Court, and in his affidavit in support of the application stated that he carried on business at 102 Cork Street, in the City of Dublin, and did a large business in the manufacture and preparation of sheep casings, hides, &c. On the 18th May, 1925, about 300 hanks of sheep casings, being of a total value of about £150, were stolen from his premises, which had evidently been broken into for that purpose. He subsequently discovered that on the 27th May, 1925, about 140 hanks of sheep casings had been sold by the plaintiff to Valentine Cosgrove, who carried on business as a pork butcher at Ranelagh. He examined the said casings, and identified some of them as being part of those which had been removed from his premises. The plaintiff was arrested, and subsequently charged with larceny of the said casings, and, alternatively, with being in possession of them, knowing them to have been stolen, and he was returned for trial, but was found not guilty. He (the defendant) said that he had a good defence to the action in law and on the merits; and everything that he did in connection with the alleged cause of action was done by him honestly, and in good faith, and without malice; and that everything he had said he believed, and had good reason to believe, to be true.

The plaintiff, in his affidavit resisting the motion to transfer the action, stated that he was born at 15 Queen's Square, in the City of Dublin, and had continuously resided there ever since, save for a couple of years when he was working outside the County Dublin. In 1908, when eighteen years of age, he was apprenticed to the business of pork butcher, and from the time he completed his apprenticeship he had continuously worked as a pork butcher up to 1922, and that part of his work consisted of preparing and making sausage casings. In 1922 he set up in business on his own account in the preparation and manufacture of sausage casings, and his business gradually extended. At that time there were only five other persons carrying on a similar business in the City and County of Dublin. At no time prior to the acts complained of had any charge of any...

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