DPP v Ferguson
1965 WJSC-CCA 511
COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEAL
Mr. Justice Murnaghan
Mr. Justice McMahon
An application for leave to appeal by DesmondFerguson, a vocational teacher, of Kilmainham, Kells, Co. Meath, against a conviction of membership of an illegal organisation. (He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment by the Special Criminal Court).
Application for leave to appeal was refused.
Mr. Seamus Sorohan S.C. (for the appellant) applied for a certificate of leave to appeal to the Supreme Court on the ground that the decision of the court involved a matter of public importance and that it was in the public interest to take it to the Supreme Court. He said there was no decision of the Supreme Court. He said there was no decision of the Supreme Court on the question of how the courts were to approach the question of privilege in a criminal trial.
The Chief Justice, announcing the court's refusal, said it was the view of the court that in civil or criminal proceedings (it did not matter) the document must be decided on the evidence in relation to it.
The application for a certificate of leave to appeal to the Supreme Court was refused.
The grounds of the appeal came down to two important grounds (1) whether the claim of privilege put forward and sustained by the Court was justified and (2) whether at the conclusion of the case, the evidence being confined to the evidence permitted under Section 3(2) of the Offences Against the State Act, 1972, the Court could on such evidence alone convict.
With regard to the question of privilege, this matter had been considered by the Courts in various decisions which had been referred to, and notably theAttorney General v. Simpson ( 1959 I.R.105 which was a decision of a divisional court under the presidency of the President of the High Court, Mr. Justice Davitt. The matter was also considered by the Supreme Court in Murphy v. Dublin corporation (1972)I.R.215.
This Court expresses no view as to the extent to which these decisions were to be related or compared but it was clear from the decision in Murphy and the Dublin Corporation that in...
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