DPP (Traynor) v Lennon

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court
Judgment Date09 March 1999
Docket Number[S.C. No. 257 of 1998]
Date09 March 1999
Director of Public Prosecutions (Traynor) v. Lennon
In the matter of s. 2 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1957 and in the matter of s. 51 of the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act
1961
Director of Public Prosecutions (at the suit of Garda K. Traynor)
Appellant
and
Jenny Lennon
Respondent
[S.C. No. 257 of 1998]

Supreme Court

Criminal law - Road traffic - Drink driving - Right to choose between providing blood or urine sample - Whether circumstances in which urine sample to be provided were invasion of privacy so as to vitiate choice - Road Traffic Act, 1994 (No. 7), s. 13.

Section 13(1) of the Road Traffic Act, 1994, provides that where a person is arrested under, inter alia,s. 49(8) of the Road Traffic Act, 1961, and a member of the Garda Sochána is of opinion that the person has consumed an intoxicant, a member of the Garda Sochána may, at a garda station, at his discretion

"… require the person either -

  • (i) to permit a designated doctor to take from the person a specimen of his blood, or

  • (ii) at the option of the person, to provide for the designated doctor a specimen of his urine …"

The respondent was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, and was required to provide a sample of urine or blood. Having elected to provide a urine sample, she was directed to a cubicle in a corner of the room in which a male doctor and a male garda were present. Finding the situation to be lacking in privacy, she elected instead to provide a blood sample. At the conclusion of the prosecution case in the District Court, the District Judge dismissed the charges on the basis that the respondent's privacy had not been respected, and that she had therefore been unlawfully deprived of the choice to which she was entitled under s. 13 of the Act of 1994.

On an appeal by way of case stated, the District Judge asked whether he was correct in law in so ruling and the High Court (Morris P.) answered the question in the affirmative. The appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

Held by the Supreme Court (O'Flaherty, Barrington, Keane, Murphy and Barron JJ.), in granting the appeal and answering the question in the negative, 1, that the respondent would be deprived of the option to which she was entitled under s. 13 of the Act of 1994, if the circumstances in which a urine sample was to be provided involved an excessive or unnecessary intrusion on the dignity of the person concerned by reasonable standards of modesty.

2. That the facilities provided were not so deficient or represent such an excessive and unwarranted intrusion of the right of privacy of the respondent that she had been deprived of any real choice.

Cases mentioned in this report:-

Connolly v. Salinger [1982] I.L.R.M. 482.

Director of Public Prosecutions v. Kenny [1992] 2 I.R. 141.

Director of Public Prosecutions v. O'Connor [2000] 1 I.L.R.M. 60.

Director of Public Prosecutions v. Swan [1994] 1 I.L.R.M. 314.

Appeal from the High Court.

The facts are summarised in the headnote and are more fully set out in the judgment of Murphy J., infra.

On an appeal by way of case stated dated the 16th December, 1997, District Judge Brophy asked whether he had been correct in law in striking out the charge of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, contrary to s. 49(2) and (6)(a) of the Road Traffic Act, 1961, as inserted by s. 10 of the Road Traffic Act, 1994, as amended by the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act, 1995. The matter was heard by the High Court (Morris P.) on the 18th June, 1998. By order of the High Court dated the 26th June, 1998, the question posed in the case stated was answered in the affirmative.

By notice of appeal dated the 2nd September, 1998, the appellant appealed to the Supreme Court. The matter was heard by the Supreme Court (O'Flaherty, Barrington, Keane, Murphy and Barron JJ.) on the 1st March, 1999.

Cur. adv. vult.

O'Flaherty J.

9th March, 1999

I agree with the judgment about to be given by Murphy J.

Barrington J.

I also agree with the judgment about to be given by Murphy J.

Keane J.

I also agree with the judgment about to be given by Murphy J.

Murphy J.

This case concerns the adequacy of facilities provided at Ashbourne garda station in relation to the provision of blood or urine samples for the purposes of s. 13 of the Road Traffic Act, 1994.

The particular question the subject matter of these proceedings arose in this way. On Sunday, the 15th December, 1996, Garda K. Traynor stopped a motor car then driven by the above named respondent, Jenny Lennon. The garda...

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3 cases
  • DPP v O'Donoghue
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 15 June 2018
    ...to be persuasive. 13 The prosecution also relied upon obiter dicta of Murphy J. in Director of Public Prosecutions (Traynor) v. Lennon [1999] 2 I.R. 402. In that case the respondent was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and was required to pr......
  • DPP v Quirke
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 3 March 2003
    ...S12(1) ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S49(2) ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S49(8) ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S13(1)(B) ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1994 S18 DPP V LENNON 1999 2 IR 402 DPP V GILMORE 1981 ILRM 102 ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1994 S10 ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1994 S12(1)(A) DPP V BREHENY UNREP SUPREME 2.3.1993 1993/2/255 HOBBS V......
  • DPP v Lennon
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 9 March 1999
    ...1994. Held: Appeal allowed. D.P.P. v. Lennon Supreme Court: O'Flaherty J., Barrington J., Keane J., Murphy J., Barron J. 09/03/1999 - [1999] 2 IR 402 While the specimen required under section 13 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 and the tests to be applied to it could achieve a degree of scienti......

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