DPP v Eccles

 
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1986 WJSC-CCA 425

THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEAL

Hederman J

Keane J

Barron J

(Nos 30/1985)
(Nos 31/1985)
(Nos 32/1985)
DPP v. ECCLES
THE PEOPLE (AT THE SUIT OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS)
.v.
THOMAS ECCLES PATRICK McPHILLIPS AND BRIAN McSHANE

Citations:

AG, PEOPLE V CUMMINS 1972 IR 312

BENNION ON STATUTORY INTERPRETATION 1984 P609

CRIMINAL LAW (JURISDICTION) ACT 1926 S5

DPP V HIGGINS UNREP SUPREME 22.11.85 1985/7/1994

DPP V MADDEN & ORS 1977 IR 336

DPP V MURRAY 1977 IR 430

DPP, PEOPLE V KELLY NO 2 1983 IR 1

DPP, PEOPLE V LYNCH 1982 IR 64, 1981 ILRM 389

DPP, PEOPLE V MADDEN 1977 IR 336, 111 ILTR 117

DPP, PEOPLE V PRINGLE & ORS 2 FREWEN 57

DPP, PEOPLE V SHAW 1982 IR 1

DPP, PEOPLE V WALSH 1980 IR 294

LARCENY ACT 1916 S23

MAXWELL INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES 12ED

MURPHY V DUBLIN CORPORATION 1972 IR 215, 107 ILTR 65

NORTHERN BANK FINANCE V CHARLTON 1979 IR 149

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 PART V

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S3

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S30

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S30(1)

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S30(3)

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S47(1)

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S47(2)

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S52

PROSECUTION OF OFFENCES ACT 1974 S4(1)(a)

PROSECUTION OF OFFENCES ACT 1974 S4(3)(a)

PROSECUTION OF OFFENCES ACT 1974 S4(3)(b)

R V ANDERSON 50 CAR 216

Synopsis:

JUDGMENT

Error

Inadvertence - Correction - Joint trial - Special Criminal Court - Item of evidence attributed to wrong prosecution - Error corrected by court of trial on next day - Held that error not material to conviction of either accused - (30-32/85 - C.C.A. - 10/2/86) - 3 Frewen 36

|The People (D.P.P.) v. Eccles, McPhillips, McShane|

CRIMINAL LAW

Suspect

Detention - Initial statutory period - Extension for 24 hours - Held that an extension of the initial period authorised by s. 30(3) of the Act of 1939 may be directed within that period pursuant to the terms of that sub-section provided that the officer who so directs has formed a bona fide suspicion that the detainee is involved in the offence for which he was arrested - Held also that the court of trial had acted correctly in holding that the officer who had so directed the extension of the accused's detention was entitled to claim privilege when asked to disclose the source, and the nature of the source, of the information on which he had based his decision to direct the extension - Offences Against the State Act, 1939, s.30 - (30- 32/85 - C.C.A. - 10/2/86) 3 Frewen 36

|The People (D.P.P.) v. Eccles, McPhillips, McShane|

CRIMINAL LAW

Accessory

Joint venture - Common design - Basic proofs - Complicity in armed robbery - Capital murder of policeman in plain clothes - Police escort for vehicle delivering money to post office - Conviction of accused accessory on charge of capital murder - Leave to appeal refused - (30-32/85 - C.C.A. - 10/2/86) 3 Frewen 36

|The People (D.P.P.) v. Eccles, McPhillips, McShane|

CRIMINAL LAW

Appeal

Ground - Error in judgment - Inadvertence - Error corrected by court of trial on next day - Joint trial - Item of evidence stated to relate to wrong prosecution - Held that error not material to conviction of either accused - (30-32/85 - C.C.A. - 10/2/86) - 3 Frewen 36

|The People (D.P.P.) v. Eccles, McPhillips, McShane|

CRIMINAL LAW

Suspect

Interrogation - Statutory power - Power conferred on police by s.30 of Act of 1939 - Held that the exercise of the power is not limited by the provisions of s.52 of the Act or by the fact that the suspect has been duly cautioned - Offences Against the State Act, 1939, ss.30,52 - (30-32/85 - C.C.A. - 10/2/86) - 3 Frewen 36

|The People (D.P.P.) v. Eccles, McPhillips, McShane|

EVIDENCE

Proof

Jurisdiction - Special Criminal Court - Non-scheduled offence - Certificate of Director of Public Prosecutions under s.47(2) of Act of 1939 - Proof may be adduced at any time before closure of prosecution case - Offences Against the State Act, 1939, s.47 - Prosecution of Offences Act, 1947, s.4(1)(a) - (30-32/85 - C.C.A. - 10/2/86) - 3 Frewen 36

|The People (D.P.P.) v. Eccles, McPhillips, McShane|

SPECIAL CRIMINAL COURT

Jurisdiction

Proof - Non-scheduled offence - Proof may be adduced at any time before closure of prosecution case - Certificate of Director of Public Prosecutions under s.47(2) of Act of 1939 - Offences Against the State Act, 1939, s.47 - Prosecution of Offences Act, 1974, s.4(1)(a) - (30-32/85 - C.C.A. - 10/2/86) - 3 Frewen 36

|The People (D.P.P.) v. Eccles, McPhillips, McShane|

EVIDENCE

Admissibility

Statement made by accused - Issue of coercion - Credibility of witnesses - Conflict between evidence of accused and evidence of prosecution witnesses - Conflict resolved by Special Criminal Court in favour of prosecution on basis of acceptance of veracity of prosecution witnesses - Refusal of appellate court to disturb decision of court of trial - Accused convicted of capital murder - Leave to appeal refused - (30-32/85 - C.C.A. - 10/2/86) - 3 Frewen 36

|The People (D.P.P.) v. Eccles, McPhillips, McShane|

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT
1

delivered on the 10th day of February 1986 by HEDERMAN J.

2

On the 28th March 1985 the Special Criminal Court after a lengthy trial convicted the three Applicants, Thomas Gerard Noel Eccles, Patrick McPhillips, and Brian McShane, of the capital murder of Garda Francis Hand on the 10th day of August 1984 at Drumree Post Office in the County of Meath. The Applicants were also convicted of robbery contrary to section 23 of the Larceny Act 1916 as inserted by section 5 of the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act 1926.

3

After conviction all three Applicants applied on specific grounds for certificates for leave to appeal. The Court refused the applications.

The Facts of the Commission of the Crimes
4

On the morning of 10 August 1984 D/Garda Michael Dowd and D/Garda Francis Hand left the Special Detective Unit at Harcourt Square, Dublin, in a Fiat Mirafiori car before 7 a.m. on escort duty in relation to post office deliveries. D/Garda Dowd was the observer and D/Garda Hand the driver. Both were in plain clothes. Before leaving the Detective Unit Garda Dowd placed a loaded Uzi sub-machine gun in the Front seat beside him. He had a spare magazine on the floor. D/Garda Hand was armed with a gun and a walkie-talkie set to maintain radio communications.

5

At approximately 7.20 a.m. the post office van driven by Joseph Bell with his helper, Donald Brady, left the G.P.O. Dublin with the Garda escort car following it. The post office van made a delivery at Dunboyne at approximately 7.43 a.m. and at Batterstown some few minutes later. At Batterstown D/Garda Hand accompanied the post office official into the post office with the bag to be delivered. The next point of delivery was at Drumree Post Office, also in County Meath. Mr. Bell stopped the post office van outside the post office. As the escort car was pulling in behind the van D/Garda Dowd looked over his left shoulder. He saw two men in blue boiler suits and black balaclava helmets coming through a garden gate beside the post office. The first man had a sub-machine gun and the second man appeared to be armed. The man with the machine gun ran straight for the Garda car window and the second man took up a position directly behind D/Garda Dowd and started firing into the patrol car while the first man pointed the sub-machine gun at the garda. He then moved to the front of the vehicle, took aim and fired a burst of machine gun fire through the front windscreen of the patrol car at both gardai. At that time the second raider was at the passenger door of the garda vehicle. D/Garda Dowd felt a stinging in the left upper portion of his head and was jerked to his right hand side. He put his hands up to his head and the sub-machine gun fell from his hands. As he was getting back up he saw D/Garda Hand backing out of the car with his gun in his left hand. D/Garda hand had both feet on the ground. At that stage D/Garda Dowd was caught by the left upper arm and pulled to the ground. He was told to get down on the ground and not to move. A gun was put to his head and he was told to stretch out on his belly. Within about 10 seconds D/Garda Dowd heard a car coming at a very high speed. It appeared out of control and skidded to a halt. It was an Opel car and as it was stopping one or two shots were fired, followed by a burst of sub-machine gun fire.

6

Mr. Brady had taken bags from the front of the van and gone to the post office door. As Mr. Brady was about to step into the post office Mr. Bell heard a scuffling sound behind him. He looked in the rear view mirror and saw two men. One had a machine gun and the other a small gun. They were dressed as described by D/Garda Dowd. There were short bursts of gun fire. When the firing stopped one of the raiders told Mr. Bell to turn off his ignition and get out of the van. Mr. Bell was then told to open the back of the van, which he did. He was then told to stand against the wall and put his hands behind his back. He was then told to get down on the ground on his face. Cars then arrived. One the witness recognised as an Opel car by the insignia. The money was transferred from the van to one of the vehicles. A raider then approached Mr. Bell, the keys were kicked from under him, a gun was put to the back of his neck and he was told "If you move, son, you are fucking dead."...

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