DPP v McCarthy

 
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[2015] IECA 44

THE COURT OF APPEAL

Birmingham J.

Sheehan J

Mahon J.

Appeal No. 175/2014
DPP v McCarthy
The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Respondent

- and -

Aaron McCarthy
Appellant

175/2014 - Birmingham Sheehan Mahon - Court of Appeal - 2/3/2015 - 2015 IECA 44

Conviction – Robbery – Charge to jury – Appellant seeking to appeal against conviction – Whether the trial judge”s remarks to the jury were prejudicial to the appellant

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1. This is an appeal against conviction. The Applicant, Mr. McCarthy, was found guilty of two offences following a four day trial at Dublin Circuit Court on 21 st July 2014. One offence was that of Robbery contrary to s. 14 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001, and the other offence was of taking a vehicle without authority contrary to s. 112 of the Road Traffic Act 1961. The Applicant also pleaded guilty to an offence of stealing a bicycle. He was sentenced to five years, two years and two years respectively, all sentences to run concurrently; a total period of five years in prison.

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2. The facts of the case can be briefly stated as follows. On 13 th August 2013 the Applicant hailed a taxi to take him to Spencer Dock. En route two additional passengers joined the Applicant in the taxi. In the course of the journey the taxi driver, Mr. Singh, was punched in the face and his mobile phone, bank cards and cash stolen. His taxi was also stolen. A short while later, the Applicant and another man were arrested by gardaí following a chase on foot.

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3. This Appeal is grounded on two separate criticisms by the Applicant of the learned Trial Judge's charge to the jury.

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4. The first ground of appeal concerns an important issue in the trial; the challenge to a garda witness' evidence that he had found a stolen bank card and money on the Applicant's person at the time of his arrest. The Applicant claimed that these items were not found on him.

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5. In the course of his charge to the jury, the learned Trial Judge, referring to the evidence of the garda witness that he had found these items on the Applicant's person, stated the following:-

"The single significant attack by the defence on the evidence for the Prosecution...

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