DPP v James Bowes

JurisdictionIreland
CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal
JudgeMr. Justice Hardiman.
Judgment Date20 January 2006
Neutral Citation[2006] IECCA 183
Docket Number158/05
Date20 January 2006

[2006] IECCA 183

THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEAL

Hardiman J.

Budd J.

O'Donovan J.

158/05
D.P.P. v James Bowes
THE PEOPLE AT THE SUIT OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
v.
JAMES BOWES
Applicant
1

JUDGMENT of the Court (ex tempore) delivered on the 20th day of January, 2006, by Mr. Justice Hardiman.

Mr. Justice Hardiman.
2

This is the applicant's application for leave to appeal against conviction, the question of the sentence not having been agitated, and there are four points raised two of which we propose to deal with together. The first relates, to use short terms, to the loss of drugs which were exhibits in the trial. The second relates to the alleged verbal statement made on James's Street, and the fourth, which we propose to deal with the second, relates to the question asked by the jury in relation to that topic, and the third question relates to confidential information.

3

Now it has to be said at the start that the prosecution throughout this case was afflicted with an untoward number of errors, instances of carelessness, which led in the end to (first of all) the motor vehicle, which the applicant was driving when he was stopped, disappearing, and the remarkable statement, one notices in the evidence, by the guard who took custody of it at the Garda Station, that he was under no obligation to register it with the authorities at that Garda Station. It is not perhaps surprising that in those circumstances it disappeared. Then it would appear from what we have been told today that first, one of the six packages allegedly containing heroin ceased to be available, and then subsequently the five other ones were destroyed after the conviction. As Mr. Mulloy has pointed out, the form of order, the destruction order, is plainly wrong and gives impression that there had been a plea of guilty, in which case one might reasonably think there would be no further need for the exhibits. We will just say, in a general way, that there is obviously a need for a huge improvement in the storage of items of evidential significance and in the garda consciousness of the need to do this carefully and properly.

4

However we are concerned in this case with the legal effect of what occurred. In relation to the drugs there can be no doubt that it was wrong obviously to lose or mislay any of the containers said to have heroin in them. It was wrong to destroy the drugs when an appeal was pending and we note that in that connection that the appeal was lodged on the very day of the conviction. We think it particularly wrong that, these things having happened, that the defence was not notified of them until the 31st May last. Literally, while defence counsel was on his feet, a letter from a garda, Garda Collis, dated the 28th January, was slid across to him on the 31St May, Well no explanation has been offered for that, Mr. Mulloy is not in a position to offer an explanation, but it is that plain that it was very wrong. It is also plain that that this should never be repeated.

5

Having said that we look to see whether prejudice in...

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3 cases
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    • Court of Criminal Appeal
    • 12 April 2011
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