DPP v Gentleman

JudgeKeane C.J.
Judgment Date25 February 2002
Neutral Citation2002 WJSC-CCA 2080
Docket Number[C.C.A. No. 60 of 2000]
CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal
Date25 February 2002



2002 WJSC-CCA 2080

Keane C.J.

Barr J.

Ó Caoimh J.






Sexual assault - Lack of corroboration of complaint - Corroboration warning to jury - Whether trial judge obliged to indicate to accused in advance whether he proposes to give corroboration warning to jury - Form of corroboration warning - Whether explanation of policy behind corroboration warning should be included therein - Whether adequate - Whether new trial should be ordered on basis that - Criminal Law (Rape (Amendment)) Act 1990, section 7 (60/2000 - Court of Criminal Appeal - 25/2/2002)

People (DPP) v Gentleman - [2003] 4 IR 22

Facts: The applicant applied for leave to appeal against his conviction of sexual assault. The complainant made the complaint some 22 years after the alleged occurrences. The applicant complained that the trial judge had not indicated to him in advance whether he intended to give a corroboration warning to the jury or not. He further complained that the corroboration warning itself was inadequate in so far as it did not indicate to the jury why the law considered it dangerous or had in its experience found that it could be dangerous to convict on the uncorroborated evidence of a complainant in relation to a matter of sexual assault.

Held by the Court of Criminal Appeal in allowing the appeal and quashing the conviction with no direction as to a re-trial that there was no requirement that a trial judge indicate to an accused in advance whether he proposed to give a corroboration warning to the jury or not. The trial judge should indicate in his corroboration warning why the law considered it dangerous to convict on the uncorroborated evidence of a complainant alleging sexual assault and should explain that the warning was not a formalistic requirement of the law but that it was an important requirement, based on the experience of courts that caution had to be exercised by a jury when they were dealing with an uncorroborated allegation of sexual assault.

Reporter: P. C.




25th day of February 2002 by Keane C.J.

Keane C.J.

This is an application for leave to appeal in a case where the applicant was found guilty by a jury in the Dublin Circuit (Criminal) Court on the 9th March 2000 in respect of a number of counts of indecent assault in relation to a young boy who was, at the time the offences, are alleged to have been committed, a student in a class - the applicant at the time being a teacher in the school.


The matter was at hearing in the Circuit Court for some days and at the conclusion of the case the jury found the applicant guilty and he was sentenced to a term of 3 years imprisonment. The trial judge under the practice then prevailing in the Circuit Court indicated that he would be reviewing the sentence at the end of the first year which would probably have meant that the applicant would then have been released. In the interval, in any event, he had been admitted to bail pending the hearing of the application for leave to appeal. While a number of grounds were argued on behalf of the applicant they can in the view of the court be reduced to three broad grounds.


This was a case where at the date of the trial in the Circuit Court some 22 years had elapsed since the allegedly offending conduct had taken place. There had been no complaint by the alleged victim until relatively close to the time of the trial. He, in the course of his direct evidence and in cross-examination, testified (and this is a feature in cases of this nature), that it was only later in his adult life, as a result of problems which he subsequently associated with having been the victim of this sort of abuse as a child, that he eventually came to terms with what had happened and made the complaint which led to the prosecution. That was the background against which this trial took place and it was also a case in which there was no corroboration of the applicant's allegation and that of course again is frequently a feature of cases of this nature.


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10 cases
  • DPP v J.K.
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 18 Julio 2019
    ...warning was inadequate having regard to relevant legal precedents, namely: The People (Director of Public Prosecutions) v Gentleman [2003] 4 IR 22 and The People (DPP) v D and People (DPP) v C.C. (No.2) [2012] IECCA 66 In People (DPP) v Gentleman, the Court of Criminal Appeal found the co......
  • DPP v E.C.
    • Ireland
    • Court of Criminal Appeal
    • 29 Mayo 2006
    ...of such directions by the trial judge." (pp.528-529) 22Further, in The People (Director of Public Prosecutions) v. Robert Gentleman [2003] 4 I.R. 22, Keane C.J. underlined the need to give an appropriate warning which would be adequate in the circumstances of the particular case and stated......
  • Nolan v DPP
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 10 Febrero 2012
    ...with old cases and be all the more careful and take that into account when arriving at a decision.' 73 In The People (DPP) v Gentleman [2003] 4 I.R. 22, Keane CJ. underlined the need to give an appropriate warning which would be adequate in the circumstances of the particular case, stating......
  • DPP v T.O'D.
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 22 Mayo 2017
    ...and delay. 13 Before doing so however, it is useful to briefly refer to the judgment of the Supreme Court in DPP v. Gentleman [2003] 4 I.R. 22. In his judgment, Keane C.J., referring to the trial judge's charge to the jury stated:- '...(it) does not indicate in any way to the jury why the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Exploring rape conviction rates: consent, false allegations and legal obstacles
    • Ireland
    • Irish Judicial Studies Journal No. 2-20, July 2020
    • 1 Julio 2020
    ...March 2018) accessed 17 August 2020. 50 For use of the warning see The People (DPP) v PJ [2003] 3 IR 550 and The People (DPP) v Gentleman [2003] 4 IR 22. 51 [1995] 7 JIC 2801, [30]. See also The People (DPP) v Reid [1993] 2 IR 186, 197 for statements on the continued relevance of the warnin......

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