DPP v Hoey

JurisdictionIreland
Judgment Date01 January 1988
Date01 January 1988
Docket Number[C.C.A. No. 47 of 1986]
CourtSupreme Court

Court of Criminal Appeal

Supreme Court

[C.C.A. No. 47 of 1986]
The People (D.P.P.) v. Hoey
The People (at the suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions)
and
Anthony Hoey

Cases mentioned in this report:—

The People (Attorney General) v. O'Brien [1965] I.R. 142.

Commissioners of Customs and Excise v. Harz and Power (1967) 51 Cr. App. R. 123.

R. v. Smith [1959] 2 Q.B. 35; [1959] 2 W.L.R. 623; [1959] 2 All E.R. 193; (1959) 43 Cr. App. R. 121.

R. v. Middleton [1975] Q.B. 191; [1974] 3 W.L.R. 335; [1974] 2 All E.R. 1190; 59 Cr. App. R. 18; [1974] Crim. L.R. 667.

R. v. Cleary (1963) 48 Cr. App. R. 116.

The People (Attorney General) v. Cleary (1938) 72 I.L.T.R. 84; [1934] L.J. Ir. 153.

The People (Attorney General) v. McCabe [1927] I.R. 129.

The People (Attorney General) v. Galvin [1964] I.R. 325.

The People (Attorney General) v. Flynn [1963] I.R. 255.

The People (D.P.P.) v. Shaw [1982] I.R. 1.

The People (D.P.P.) v. McNally (Unreported, Court of Criminal Appeal, 16th February, 1981); 2 Frewen 43.

R. v. Thompson [1893] 2 Q.B. 12.

Ibrahim v. R. [1914] A.C. 599; [1914-15] All E.R. Rep. 874; 24 Cox C.C. 174.

R. v. Rennie [1982] 1 W.L.R. 64; [1982] 1 All E.R. 385; (1982) 74 Cr. App. R. 207.

The People (Attorney General) v. Cummins [1972] I.R. 312.

D.P.P. v. Ping Lin [1976] A.C. 574; [1975] 3 W.L.R. 419; [1975] 3 All E.R. 175; 62 Cr. App. R. 14.

Criminal law - Evidence - Admissibility - Statement of admission by accused in answer to question by member of an Garda Síochána - Whether question an inducement or threat - Effect of inducement - Offences Against the State Act, 1939 (No. 13), s. 30.

Criminal Appeal.

On the 13th February, 1986, the applicant was convicted before the Special Criminal Court of possession of firearms and ammunition contrary to s. 15 (a) of the Firearms Act, 1925, as amended and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment. An application for a certificate of leave to appeal was refused. The applicant appealed against this refusal to the Court of Criminal Appeal.

The application for leave to appeal was heard by the Court of Criminal Appeal (Finlay C.J., Lynch and Egan JJ.) on the 25th May, 1987.

The applicant appealed to the Supreme Court pursuant to a certificate granted by the Court of Criminal Appeal under s. 29 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924, that its decision dismissing the application for leave to appeal involved a point of law of exceptional public importance. The question certified is set out in the judgment of Henchy J. post.

The appeal was heard by the Supreme Court on the 17th November, 1987.

The applicant was convicted before the Special Criminal Court of possession of firearms and ammunition contrary to s. 15 (a) of the Firearms Act, 1925, as amended. The only evidence against the accused was a statement of admission of responsibility made by him to a member of an Garda Síochána while in custody. The applicant applied for leave to appeal against his conviction on the ground that his statement of admission was inadmissible as evidence because it was made as a result of a question asked by a member of an Garda Síochána which operated as an inducement to make the statement and therefore the statement was not voluntary.

Held by the Court of Criminal Appeal (Finlay C.J., Lynch and Egan JJ.), in refusing the application for leave to appeal, 1, that while the question asked by the detective inspector induced the applicant to admit responsibility for the offence, the question was not a threat or an improper inducement by threat.

2. That an interview with a prime suspect by the gardai must involve an attempt to induce the suspect to make a statement in which he will either admit his guilt or establish his innocence. It is only an improper inducement which involves a threat or promise of temporal disadvantage or advantage which will render a statement thus obtained inadmissible.

3. That for the gardai to state that they may have to make further inquiries which may inconvenience or upset other persons, cannot in itself be regarded as a threat or an improper inducement by threat if it is a fact and not a threat to harass others whom the gardai did not believe were involved.

Attorney General v. Cleary (1938) 72 I.L.T.R. 84 and Attorney General v. McCabe[1927] I.R. 129 applied.

The Court of Criminal Appeal certified that its decision involved points of law of exceptional public importance and on appeal by the applicant it was

Held by the Supreme Court (Walsh, Henchy, Griffin, Hederman and McCarthy JJ.), in allowing the appeal and setting aside the conviction, 1, that the incriminating statement of the appellant had not been proved to have been free and voluntary and that therefore evidence of the statement ought not to have been received. The appellant was unwilling to make any form of admission until the question was put to him by the detective inspector and it was clear beyond all reasonable doubt that the effect of the question was to cause him to make the confession.

2. That the onus was on the prosecution to prove that the statement was voluntary, the test being whether or not the question was calculated to induce the appellant to admit the offence because of fear of prejudice or hope of advantage. The test was an objective one and it was irrelevant to consider the intention or motive of the person who posed the question.

3. That the effect of the words used, irrespective of what they were intended to mean, were calculated to convey that the appellant's family would not be interrogated by the Garda Síochána if the appellant admitted responsibility. In the circumstances of the case, that amounted to an improper inducement which produced a confession.

Cur. adv. vult.

In accordance with the provisions of s. 28 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924, the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeal was delivered by one of the members of the Court.

Lynch J.

This is an application for leave to appeal against convictions of the applicant for possession of firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life. The grounds of the application for leave to appeal are set out in four paragraphs as follows:—

"1. The Special Criminal Court having accepted that the alleged admissions of the appellant herein were occasioned by questions of Detective Inspector John P. Anders couched in the following terms:—

'Will I have to get some member to go up to your family and find out from them if anybody at 78, Rossmore Avenue is going to take responsibility for the property in the house?'

erred in law in finding that the circumstances aforesaid could not be regarded as a threat inducing the making of the said admissions.

2. The circumstances set out in the last preceding ground did in fact constitute a threat and/or an inducement vitiating the admissibility of the said admissions.

3. The Special Criminal Court should have rejected from its consideration the said alleged admissions and accordingly acquitted the appellant of the offences of which it found him guilty.

4. The finding of the Special Criminal Court that the accused was in possession of firearms on the 11th August, 1985, with intent to endanger life, was not supported by the evidence adduced and was against the weight of the evidence and the verdict of the Court consequent on the said finding was accordingly unsatisfactory."

The undisputed facts in the case are that at about 6 p.m. on Sunday the 11th August, 1985, a party of gardai, pursuant to authorisation in that behalf by search warrant, carried out a search of the dwellinghouse at 78, Rossmore Avenue, Ballyfermot, Dublin, where the applicant resided. The gardai found in that house a revolver, a pistol and ammunition together with balaclavas and gloves, under one of three beds in a front upstairs bedroom. The applicant was present in the house as the gardai arrived at the front door but when the applicant saw the gardai arriving he fled from the house through the back door and remained "on the run" until about 3 p.m. on Monday the 4th November, 1985. On that day the applicant reported to the gardai in the Bridewell garda station, Dublin, accompanied by his solicitor and the applicant was then arrested pursuant to s. 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939.

The applicant was interviewed by members of the Garda Síochána during that Monday afternoon and was given a break and the offer of a meal which he declined at about 6 p.m. The applicant spoke on the telephone to his solicitor, who telephoned the Bridewell garda station for that purpose, for about five minutes at 9.30 p.m. on the 4th November, 1985, and again at about 9.30 a.m. on the 5th November, 1985. Between 10.30 p.m. and 11.00 p.m. on Monday the 4th November, 1985, the applicant made a statement in the presence of Detective Inspector Anders and Detective Garda Fitzpatrick in which the applicant accepted responsibility for the guns and ammunition, found by the gardai on the 11th August, 1985, at 78, Rossmore Avenue, Ballyfermot. This statement was the only evidence connecting the applicant with the said firearms and ammunition and the admissibility of the statement was challenged in the court of trial and is the subject matter of this application, as appears from the grounds quoted above.

Immediately before the statement accepting responsibility for the firearms and ammunition was made by the applicant, Detective Inspector Anders had said to the applicant:—

"Will I have to get some member to go up to your family and find out from them if anybody at 78, Rossmore Avenue, is going to take responsibility for the property in the house?"

The applicant gave evidence on the issue of the admissibility of his statement accepting responsibility for the firearms and ammunition at the trial within the trial. He accepted on cross-examination that he had made no complaints of threats by any member of the gardai when he was speaking to his solicitor at 9.30 p.m. on the 4th November or at 9.30 a.m...

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6 cases
  • DPP v Doyle
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 18 January 2017
    ...the courts will carefully scrutinise inducements regarding consequences to family members, or close associates (see The People v. Hoey [1987] 1 I.R. 637). In this context, counsel for the appellant refers to a number of passages in the interviews which, it is submitted, constitute an implie......
  • DPP v McCann
    • Ireland
    • Court of Criminal Appeal
    • 11 March 1998
    ...beyond reasonable doubt that they were not police tools or agents. The Hoey case [ The People (Director of Public Prosecutions) .v. Hoey [1987] IR 637] established that if admissions were induced by threats made against the accused by the guards that they would lean on or otherwise pressur......
  • DPP v Jason Murphy
    • Ireland
    • Court of Criminal Appeal
    • 18 January 2013
    ...2006 S16(5) CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 2006 S16(1) CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 2006 S16(4)(A) PEOPLE (DPP) v MCCANN 1998 4 IR 397 PEOPLE (DPP) v HOEY 1987 IR 637 CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 2006 S16(2)(B) PEOPLE (DPP) v GILLIGAN 2006 1 IR 107 R v BASKERVILLE 1916 2 KB 658 PEOPLE (AG) v PHELAN 1950 1 FREWEN 98......
  • DPP v Doyle
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 8 May 2015
    ...that even the most gentle threats or slight inducements will taint a confession, see R v. Smith [1959] 2 QB 35. In People (D.P.P) v. Hoey [1987] IR 637 a threat to arrest and interrogate friends of an accused was sufficient to exclude a confession. In People (DPP) v. Pringle (1981) 1 Frewen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Subject Index
    • United Kingdom
    • International Journal of Evidence & Proof, The No. 12-4, November 2008
    • 1 November 2008
    .... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231People (DPP) v Gilligan, unreported, 23November 2005,Supreme Court. . . . . . . . 225People (DPP)v Hoey [1987]IR 637. . . . . . . . . . . 230People (DPP) v Holland, unreported, 15 July1998, Courtof Criminal Appeal . . . . . . . .230People (DPP)v Lawless [1......
  • Reconfiguring the Pre-Trial and Trial Processes in Ireland in the Fight against Organised Crime
    • United Kingdom
    • International Journal of Evidence & Proof, The No. 12-3, July 2008
    • 1 July 2008
    ...1990 [1999] 3 IR 145, following Saunders vUnitedKingdom (1996) 23 EHRR 313.139 Ibrahim vR[1914] AC 599 at 609. See e.g. People (DPP)vHoey [1987] IR 637 at 651 where the SupremeCourt described this standard of voluntariness as ‘firmly established in our legal Moreover, legislative extensions......

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