DPP v Alan Finnamore

 
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[2005] JILL-CCA 112101

COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEAL

McCracken J

O'Neill J

Herbert J

231/04
DPP v Alan Finnamore

Between:

The Director of Public Prosecutions

AND

Alan Finnamore
Applicant
1

Judgment of the Court (ex tempore) delivered the 21st day of November 2005 by McCracken J

2

In this case the Applicant was convicted of three drug related charges at Portlaoise Circuit Court on 12 th October 2004. His appeal before us against conviction is purely based on the conduct of the trial and in particular the length of time and the conditions under which the jury considered their verdict.

3

The relevant times are that at 4.07 pm the jury were sent out to consider the case and just after 5.30 pm they returned with a question which related to the difference between the charges. At 6.44 pm the Judge then sent for the jury and for the purpose of directing them that they could bring in a majority verdict. They in fact told the Court that they had reached a verdict on Count Number 2 which was the count of simple possession of drugs and that they had found him guilty on that count. The Judge then directed the jury that they could bring in a majority verdict on the other counts.

4

Shortly afterwards, just after 7 pm, the jury sent in a message that they would like some food and the Judge brought them back into Court again. He explained the position at that stage with regard to an overnight stay in a hotel if they had not reached a verdict. It would appear the jury had not been told of the possibility of this before and the Judge also told them that there was a normal procedure or rule whereby a jury should not sit consistently beyond three and a half hours but if they said they were nearly there and only wanted another half hour or so then that would be alright and he also told them that normally a jury should not sit beyond 7.30 in the evening. The Judge asked the foreman if he thought the jury could reach a decision by 8 pm and said they could have food but it would take time. The foreman asked was 8 pm a deadline and was told "for tonight". The jury retired and at about 7.30 pm the Judge asked them to come back again and he again asked the foreman did he think that they should continue to consult...

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