DPP v Meehan

JurisdictionIreland
CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal
JudgeAbbott J.
Judgment Date27 Jun 2002
Neutral Citation2002 WJSC-CCA 2144
Docket Number[C.C.A. No. 166 of 2000]

2002 WJSC-CCA 2144

COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEAL

FENNELLY J.

LAVAN J.

ABBOTT J.

166/00
DPP v. MEEHAN
THE PEOPLE AT THE SUIT OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS

AND

KEVIN MEEHAN
APPLICANT

Citations:

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S31

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S31(3)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE (ADMINISTRATION) ACT 1924 S5

MCLOUGHLIN, STATE V SHANNON 1948 IR 439

AG, PEOPLE V BLOGH 1958 IR 91

MCGRODDY, STATE V CARR 1975 IR 275

DEVEREAUX V KONSTONOURIS 1992 ILRM 140

RYAN & MCGEE IRISH CRIMINAL PROCESS 252

ARCHBOLD ARCHBOLD CRMINAL PLEADING, EVIDENCE & PRACTICE 1997ED PARA 138

ARCHBOLD ARCHBOLD CRMINAL PLEADING, EVIDENCE & PRACTICE 1999ED

DPP V WALSH EX-TEMP UNREP CCA 11.2.2002

FORGERY ACT 1913 S31(2)

FORGERY ACT 1913 S31(3)

ARCHBOLD ARCHBOLD CRIMINAL PLEADING, EVIDENCE & PRACTICE 2000ED

R V MOLLOY 1921 2 KB 364

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S3(1)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S4

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S5

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S6

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S7

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S8

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S9

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S10

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S11

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S12

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S13

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S14

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S15

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S16

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S17

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S18

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 PART III

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 PART IV

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S47(5)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1999 S25

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1999 S25(1)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1999 S25(2)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1999 S25(3)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1994 S3(1)(e)

Synopsis:

CRIMINAL LAW

Appeal against conviction

Whether two different and distinct offences disclosed on indictment - Whether conviction bad on its face for duplicity - Criminal Justice Act, 1994 section 31 (166/2000 - Court of Criminal Appeal - 27/6/2002)

People (DPP) v Meehan - [2002] 3 IR 139

Facts: the applicant was convicted on six counts of money laundering contrary to section 31 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1994. Counts 1, 3 and 5 related to money laundering contrary to section 31(2) and counts 2,4 and 6 related to charges of money laundering contrary to section 31(3) of the Act of 1994. The prosecution case was that the money was derived from illegal tobacco importation up to 1995 and thereafter derived from drug dealing. The applicant applied for leave to appeal his convictions on the ground, inter alia, that the conviction was bad on its face for duplicity as two different and distinct offences were disclosed on the indictment and did not relate to different ways of committing the single offence of money laundering.

Held that the question as to where the line lay between a single offence committed in different ways and the creation of two different offences often fell to be decided on a case by case basis. An examination of the definitions and provisions of the Act of 1994 as amended was necessary in order to determine whether the relevant subsections of section 31 created two different offences or merely described the commission of one in two different ways. Numerous provisions of the Act of 1994 maintained the distinction between proceeds of drug trafficking and proceeds of other crimes. A conviction based on the count containing the two alternatives of drug trafficking and other criminal activity was therefore not merely uncertain and unworkable from the point of view of the administration of the Act but was patently unjust in that the applicant should have recorded against him a conviction comprising of a reference to drug trafficking when the trial court was not satisfied as to the existence of evidence against him on that issue. Accordingly the conviction on all counts was quashed.

1

JUDGMENT of the Court delivered the 27th day of June 2002 by Abbott J.

2

The Applicant was convicted on the 22nd day of May 2000 by the Special Criminal Court on six counts of money laundering contrary to Section 31 of the Criminal Justice Act 1994("the Act of 1994"). He is currently serving the sentence of five years imprisonment that was imposed on him by the Court in respect of each count concurrently.

3

Counts 1, 3 and 5 relate to money laundering contrary to Section 31(3) of the Act 1994 and counts 2, 4 and 6 relate to charges of money laundering contrary to Section 31(3) of the Act of 1994.

4

The money laundering is alleged to have taken place on various dates in 1995 and 1996 and involved various bank draft and a cheque transactions in Dublin and in Vienna Austria.

5

The accused is the father of Brian Meehan and the prosecution case is that the money in question was derived by the said Brian Meehan from illegal tobacco importation and gambling from 1994 and then to 1995 and that subsequently the main source of the money

6

The accused is the father of Brian Meehan and the prosecution case was that the money in question was derived by the said Brian Meehan from illegal tobacco importation and gambling from 1994 and then to 1995 and that subsequently the main source of the money was drug dealing or trafficking, certainly, from 1996 on. In its judgment, the Special Criminal Court was not satisfied that the State had established the degree of proof necessary to secure a conviction in respect of money laundering derived from drug trafficking. The evidence was that the applicant had acknowledged that it was believed that the money was generated from sales of tobacco and from gambling, and, that there was no evidence that he knew or believed that the source of the money had changed in 1996 to drug trafficking. By application dated the 17th day of October 2000 the applicant applied for leave to appeal against his said convictions.

7

The grounds of appeal against conviction are as follows:-

8

1. The conviction is bad on its face for duplicity.

9

2. The Court erred in not acceding to the grounds relied on, on the application by the defence at the close of the prosecution case.

10

The submissions on behalf of the Applicant clarify the grounds of appeal further in that ground 2 has been elaborated into two grounds as follows:-

11

(a) The prosecution did not prove that the offences occurred within the State and

12

(b) That there was no evidence that the removal of monies from the State was for the purpose of assisting another to avoid a confiscation order or a criminal prosecution. This latter sub ground of appeal relates only to counts 2, 4 and 6 of the indictment.

13

The Applicant did not proceed at the appeal before this Court with an appeal on the basis of part (a) of Ground 2 relating to the occurrence of the offence within the State.

Ground 1 - Duplicity
14

Counsel on behalf of the Applicant conceded that Section 5 of the Criminal Justice (Administration) Act 1924allowed for the charging of an offence by alleging alternative acts or means by which the offence might be committed but emphasised that in relation to the aspect of all counts on the indictment dealing with whether the monies were the proceeds of drug trafficking or other criminal activity related not to different ways of committing the single offence of money laundering but to two entirely different offences. Two entirely different and distinct offences were disclosed and all counts were bad for duplicity.

15

The defence relied on the definitions contained in the 1994 Act relating to drug trafficking and drug trafficking offences and further submitted that a further factor which supported duplicate interpretation was that the conviction recorded was bad for uncertainty. The conviction including as it did a reference to drug trafficking was claimed to cast an unwarranted stigma on the Applicant in circumstances where he had been exonerated by the Trial Court of handling the proceeds of drug trafficking. The defence relied on the following authorities

16

(i) The State (McLoughlin) v. Shannon, (1948) I.R. 439 .

17

(ii) The People (Attorney General) v. Blogh ( 1958 )I.R. 91

18

(iii) The State (McGroddy) v. Carr (1975)I.R. 275

19

(iv) Deveraux v. Konstonouris (1992)I.L.R.M. 140.

20

(v) Ryan & McGee, Irish Criminal Process, p.252

21

(vi) Archbold, 1997 abbreviated para. 138–139, and 1999 editions,

22

(vii) D.P.P. v. Walsh ex. temp. Court of Criminal Appeal, February 11th, 2002.

23

It was submitted that the aforesaid authorities attempted to set out where the line lies between a single offence committed in different ways, and the creation of two different offences. As was underlined by Mr. Justice Geoghegan presiding in the Court of Criminal Appeal as recently as February 2002 in DPP v Walsh it is difficult to say where such line existed, and it often falls to be decided on a case by case basis.

24

The prosecution in its submission stated that what was at issue here was the intention of the legislature. In ascertaining that intention, the prosecution submitted that the general tendency has been towards the simplification of charges. This is in contrast with such a piece of legislation as the Forgery Act, 1913, when it was necessary to specifically pick from a number of precisely defined activities in relation to precisely defined instruments, the offence alleged. It was submitted that there is one offence in Section 31(2) and that is of dealing with property which is the proceeds of any criminal activity for the purpose of assisting another person to avoid prosecution or a confiscation order. A...

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2 cases
  • Attorney General v Davis
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 12 August 2016
    ...down by the Grand Jury. 44 It is also submitted that Count 3 is bad for duplicity. Reliance is placed upon The People (DPP) v. Meehan [2002] 3 I.R. 139 in which the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed a conviction for money laundering charged under s. 31(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1994 wh......
  • DPP v Kavanagh
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 27 January 2020
    ...JJ.), July 5, 1999; The People (DPP) v. Carew [2019] IECA 77;, The People (DPP) v McHugh [2002] 1 I.R. 352; The People (DPP) v Meehan [2002] 3 I.R. 139; The People (DPP) v John Duffy; The Irish Times, October 2, 2015 and The People (DPP) v Michael Cole, The Irish Times November 5, 2019, alt......

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