DPP v Mulvey

JurisdictionIreland
CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal
Judgment Date16 March 1987
Docket Number[C.C.A. No. 75 of 1986]
Date16 March 1987
The People (DPP) v. Mulvey
The People (at the Prosecution of The Director of Public Prosecutions)
and
Francis Mulvey
[C.C.A. No. 75 of 1986]

Court of Criminal Appeal

Criminal law - Rape - Corroboration - Evidence relied on as corroboration - Distress coincident with the complaint - Whether distressed condition of complainant capable of constituting corroboration - Judge's direction to jury.

The applicant was convicted of rape. As corroboration of the complaint the prosecution tendered the evidence of certain witnesses to whom the prosecutrix complained, as to her distressed condition at the time that she made the complaint of rape.

The defence case was that the prosecutrix consented to sexual intercourse with the applicant and that her subsequent distress was due to the fact that she had lost her virginity unexpectedly and that this was not corroboration because, as the complaint was not corroborative of itself, the description of a distressed condition could not be treated as corroboration if it was part of the complaint or must be given so little weight as to be of no significance.

The trial judge left to the jury the question of whether or not the distressed condition constituted corroboration of the evidence of the prosecutrix, but did not state to the jury that the alleged corroboration was a description of a distressed condition apparent at the time of making a complaint of rape. On the applicant's application for leave to appeal against conviction and sentence it was

Held by the Court of Criminal Appeal (McCarthy, Gannon and Barr JJ.), in dismissing the application, 1, that the distressed condition of a complainant in a case of rape, might, depending on the circumstances, amount to corroboration of the offence but the jury should be wary of relying upon it.

2. That the trial judge was bound to warn the jury of the need for corroboration, the weakness of evidence of a distressed condition as corroboration in cases of rape and the danger of convicting in the absence of corroboration.

Attorney General v. Cradden [1955] I.R. 130; Attorney General v. O'Sullivan[1930] I.R. 552 and Reg. v. Knight[1966] 1 W.L.R. 230 followed.

3. That in the instant case the jury was told of its role in assessing what was corroboration and, in putting the defence case to the jury, the trial judge made it clear that the jury should consider the issue of whether or not there was corroboration in the light of the defence submissions as to the cause of the distress.

Cases mentioned in this report:—

Attorney General v. Lennon (Unreported, Court of Criminal Appeal, 5th May, 1925) referred to in Sandes: Criminal Practice Procedure and Evidence in Éire éire, 2nd edition, p. 138.

Attorney General v. Linehan [1929] I.R. 19; (1928) 63 I.L.T.R. 30.

Attorney General v. Levison [1932] I.R. 158.

Attorney General v. Corcoran and Donoghue (1929) 63 I.L.T.R. 145.

Attorney General v. O'Sullivan [1930] I.R. 552.

Attorney General v. Cradden [1955] I.R. 130.

R. v. Redpath (1962) 46 Cr. App. R. 319.

R. v. Knight [1966] 1 W.L.R. 230; [1966] 1 All E.R. 647; (1966) 50 Cr. App. R. 122.

James v. R. (1971) 55 Cr. App. R. 299.

R. v. Wilson (1974) 58 Cr. App. R. 304.

R. v. Chauhan (1981) 73 Cr. App. R. 232.

R. v. Luise [1964] Crim. L.R. 605.

R. v. Suddens [1964] Crim. L.R. 606.

R. v. Ohoye [1964] Crim. L.R. 416.

R. v. Zielinski (1950) 34 Cr. App. R. 193.

Archbold: Criminal Pleading Evidence and Practice 42nd Ed., Chp. 16, p. 1142.

Criminal Appeal.

The applicant was convicted of rape by the Dublin Circuit Court, (the President, the Honourable Mr. Justice Roe and a jury) on the 22nd July, 1986, and a sentence of 3 years imprisonment was imposed.

An application for leave to appeal against conviction and sentence was made before the Dublin Circuit Court on the 23rd July, 1986, and was refused. The applicant appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeal and the matter was heard on 9th March, 1987, and liberty to abandon the appeal against sentence was granted.

Cur. adv. vult.

McCarthy J.

The applicant was convicted of rape; he did not deny having sexual intercourse with the prosecutrix on the night and at the place in question, in his motor car which was parked on the road on which the prosecutrix lived. The real issue in the case was whether or not the prosecutrix had consented to having sexual intercourse with the applicant. The prosecution tendered the evidence of the prosecutrix as to the event itself and, as corroboration on this issue, the evidence of the sister and brother of the prosecutrix, to whom she complained of the alleged rape, as to her demeanour and generally distressed condition. The prosecutrix was seen by her sister within a very short time after the alleged rape and by her brother within a relatively short time. She was also seen some five hours later by Dr. Maura Woods at the Rotunda Hospital, and Dr. Woods, amongst other things, testified as to the distressed condition in which she found the prosecutrix. To each of these witnesses the prosecutrix stated that she had been raped. The trial judge left to the jury the question of whether or not the distressed condition as so described constituted, in the minds of the jury, corroboration of the evidence of the prosecutrix on what was the real issue — consent or no consent. His directions to the jury, to which later reference will be...

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4 cases
  • The People (at the suit of the DPP) v Brian Shaughnessey
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 23 March 2021
    ...violence charge, distress after the event can be corroboration, but it is not regarded as strong corroboration; The People (DPP) v Mulvey [1987] IR 502. This is precisely the definition given by the trial judge to the jury. Distress is a circumstance which may be due to simple regret but wh......
  • DPP v B. S
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 9 April 2020
    ...distress to be capable of being corroborative, there must be clear evidence of such. The appellant refers to The People (DPP) v. Mulvey [1987] IR 502, wherein the Court held that the distressed condition of a complainant in a case of rape might, depending on the circumstances, amount to cor......
  • The People [At the Suit of the DPP] v Alan Hanley
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 4 February 2021
    ...it is contended, been held to be mandatory. We were referred in particular to what is now a somewhat dated authority, viz — DPP v Mulvey [1987] IR 502. There the issue, however, was whether or not distress could constitute corroboration at all and having so held the Court of Criminal Appeal......
  • DPP v P. K
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 31 July 2020
    ...of that afterwards. [SH], herself, had been drinking …” 16 The appellant has placed particular emphasis on the decision in DPP v. Malvey [1987] IR 502. We do not see that case as laying down any general or absolute rule that a judge must always tell a jury that evidence of distress is weak ......

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