DPP v Cecil Tomkins

Judgment Date16 October 2012
Neutral Citation[2012] IECCA 82
Date16 October 2012
Docket Number[C.C.A. No: 139/12]
CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal

[2012] IECCA 82


MacMenamin J., Moriarty J., Hogan J.

[C.C.A. No: 139/12]

The People (at the suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions)
Cecil Tomkins

Crime - Murder - Defences - Defendant convicted of murder of his sibling - Defendant contending jury insufficiently advised as to law on defences advanced

Facts: The appellant, a sufferer of advancing Parkinson's syndrome, was convicted of the murder of his brother. A number of defences were raised at trial in relation to the appellant's medical condition and the possible effect it may have had on him at the time of the offence. These defences were as follows: that what had occurred was an accident, the question of insanity, the contention that the appellant lacked the requisite intent to commit a criminal offence and in relation to the state of mind of the accused, the defences of provocation and diminished responsibility.

The defendant contended the verdict at first instance was perverse as the jury were insufficiently instructed on the law regarding each of the available defences.

Held by MacMenmin J that no criticism could be levelled at the way in which the trial judge charged the jury in relation to any of the defences, except diminished responsibility. The Court considered that the trial judge erred by failing to explain to the jury the distinction between the defences of provocation and diminished responsibility. The charge should have addressed specifically the point that evidence of pre-meditation was not necessarily inconsistent with diminished responsibility. This error was reasonably likely to have left the jury with an incomplete and erroneous view of the law applicable to diminished responsibility. R v Leonard John Sanders [1991] 93 Cr App R and R v Matheson [1958] 42 Cr App R 145 considered.

The Court quashed the conviction and directed a retrial on the basis that the charge contained an error of law which was of substantial and fundamental importance to the fairness of the trial.

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18 cases
  • DPP v M.A.
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 22 December 2020
    ...of Public Prosecutions) v Nadwodny [2015] IECA 307, where this Court applied the principle flowing from The People (DPP) v Tomkins [2012] IECCA 82 that emphasised that there is a high threshold to be crossed in claims of perversity, and that an appeal court should only quash a decision as b......
  • DPP v Gaizutis
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 27 April 2020
    ...weight of the evidence. Giving the judgement of the Court, Birmingham, P. said: “As has been made clear in cases such as DPP v. Tomkins [2012] IECCA 82 and DPP v. Nadwodny [2015] IECA 307, a decision to quash a verdict because it is perverse is a very exceptional one. This reflects the prim......
  • DPP v C.S.
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 1 December 2022
    ...were required before a jury verdict may be regarded as perverse. A good synopsis of the law is found in DPP v Cecil Tomkins [2012] IECCA 82 (MacMenamin J.) at para 21: “Thus, this court will be very slow to intervene where it is satisfied that a judge has placed all relevant matters before ......
  • DPP v B.F.
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 17 July 2017
    ...we applied the jurisprudence of the former Court of Criminal Appeal as stated in The People (Director of Public Prosecutions) v Tomkins [2012] IECCA 82 which emphasised that there is a high threshold to be crossed in claims of perversity and that an appeal court should only quash a decision......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The Role of the Jury in the Insanity Defence: People (DPP) v Alchimionek [2019] IECA 49
    • Ireland
    • Hibernian Law Journal No. 19-2020, January 2020
    • 1 January 2020
    ...so that it may come to its own decision. 25 17 homas O’Malley, he Criminal Process (Round Hall 2009) [23-12]. 18 People (DPP) v Tomkins [2012] IECCA 82, [20] (MacMenamin J); People (DPP) v Nadwodny [2015] IECA 307 [14] (Mahon J). 19 People (DPP) v Egan [1990] ILRM 780, 784 (McCarthy J). 20 ......

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