DPP v Pires, DPP v Corrigan, DPP v Gannon

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMs. Justice Dunne
Judgment Date23 October 2018
Neutral Citation[2018] IESC 51
Date23 October 2018
CourtSupreme Court
Docket Number[Appeal No. S:AP:IE:2017:000064] [Appeal No. S:AP:IE:2017:000067] [Appeal No. S:AP:IE:2017:000070]

[2018] IESC 51

THE SUPREME COURT

Dunne J.

O'Donnell Donal J.

MacMenamin J.

Dunne J.

O'Malley Iseult J.

Finlay Geoghegan J.

[Appeal No. S:AP:IE:2017:000064]

[Appeal No. S:AP:IE:2017:000067]

[Appeal No. S:AP:IE:2017:000070]

IN THE MATTER OF SECTION 2 OF THE SUMMARY JURISDICTION ACT 1857 AS EXTENDED BY SECTION 51 OF THE COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1961

BETWEEN
THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
RESPONDENT/PROSECUTOR
AND
CICERO PIRES

AND

JAMES CORRIGAN

AND

PAUL GANNON
APPELLANTS/ACCUSED

Case stated – Point of law – DPP (Moyles) v Cullen [2014] IESC 7 – Appellants seeking to appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal dismissing their appeal against a judgment of the High Court – Whether the High Court and Court of Appeal correctly applied the law as decided in DPP (Moyles) v Cullen [2014] IESC 7

Facts: The appellants, Mr Pires, Mr Corrigan and Mr Gannon, appealed to the Supreme Court from a decision of the Court of Appeal of the 21st December, 2016 dismissing the appellants' appeal against a judgment of the High Court of the 9th July, 2015. In a series of determinations dated the 31st July, 2017, the Supreme Court granted leave to appeal to the appellants in respect of the following two issues: "(a) Did the High Court and Court of Appeal correctly apply the scope and principles contained in s.2 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1857, as amended?; (b) Did the High Court and Court of Appeal correctly apply the law as decided in DPP v. Cullen?" The genesis of these cases, while unconnected to each other in any material sense, arose from three appeals to the High Court by way of case stated from a judge of the District Court, on 20th March, 2015, pursuant to s. 2 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act 1857, on a point of law. The three cases concerned prosecutions for offences contrary to ss. 4(4)(b) and (5) of the Road Traffic Act 2010.

Held by the Court that this case concerned a point of law, namely, whether the principles set out in DPP (Moyles) v Cullen [2014] IESC 7 were correctly applied to the facts of the respective cases; accordingly, the case stated procedure was appropriately invoked. The Court was satisfied that the District Judge in applying an objective test to the consideration of the use of handcuffs, misconstrued the decision of the Court in Cullen.

The Court held that it would dismiss the appeals.

Appeals dismissed.

JUDGMENT of Ms. Justice Dunne delivered the 23rd day of October, 2018
1

This is an appeal by Mr. Pires, Mr. Corrigan and Mr. Gannon (hereinafter referred to as the Appellants) from a decision of the Court of Appeal (Mahon J., Sheehan and Edwards JJ. concurring) of the 21st December, 2016 dismissing the Appellants' appeal against a judgment of the High Court (Barrett J.) of the 9th July, 2015.

2

In a series of determinations dated the 31st July, 2017, this Court granted leave to appeal to the Appellants in respect of the following two issues:

‘(a) Did the High Court and Court of Appeal correctly apply the scope and principles contained in s.2 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1857, as amended?

(b) Did the High Court and Court of Appeal correctly apply the law as decided in DPP v.Cullen?’

3

It is necessary to set out the background and procedural history of these cases in order to understand how the issues in respect of which leave was granted have arisen.

Background and procedural history
4

The genesis of these cases, while unconnected to each other in any material sense, arises from three appeals to the High Court by way of case stated from Judge Bryan Smyth, a judge of the District Court, on 20th March, 2015, pursuant to s. 2 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act 1857, as extended by s. 51 of the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961, (hereinafter referred to as the Act of 1857) on a point of law. The three cases concerned prosecutions for offences contrary to ss. 4(4)(b) and (5) of the Road Traffic Act 2010.

5

A summary of the factual circumstances in relation to each of the Appellants is to be found in the judgment of the Court of Appeal and it would be helpful in order to spell out the nature of the issues that arises to quote from that summary as follows:

‘Mr. Pires

Mr. Pires was stopped at Fortunestown Road in Tallaght on 1st January 2014 on suspicion of drink driving. Gda. Brady handcuffed Mr. Pires while effecting his arrest. Gda. Brady told the District Court that he did so because Mr. Pires was intoxicated, was larger in stature than he was, he was on his own with him, and he had to transport him in a garda vehicle without an internal protective barrier. There was no evidence that Mr. Pires was aggressive or agitated at any time.

Mr. Corrigan

Mr. Corrigan was stopped at Finglas Road dual carriageway on 28th May 2014 by Gda. Murphy, his attention having been drawn to Mr. Corrigan when his vehicle collided with another vehicle at a roundabout. Having formed the necessary opinion as to the consumption of an intoxicant, Mr. Corrigan was arrested and taken to Finglas garda station. While effecting arrest, Gda. Murphy handcuffed Mr. Corrigan because he was “jittery'. He also said that the appellant hesitated when he placed his hand on Mr. Corrigan to usher him into the back of the patrol car. Mr. Murphy accepted that Mr. Corrigan was not aggressive and was co-operative. He was nevertheless concerned that Mr. Corrigan might become overwhelmed and react in panic because of the position he found himself in. He was also concerned that they were on a busy dual carriageway and that he had a duty of care to ensure the safety of the appellant and the public. He also had to convey Mr. Corrigan to a garda station in a garda patrol car which had no internal protective barrier. He said that he had applied the handcuffs for his own safety and that of the appellant.

Mr. Gannon

Mr. Gannon was stopped on the M50 in Blanchardstown in Dublin on 21st October 2013. Gda. Kelly (sic) told the District Court that he had noticed the appellant driving his Ford Focus van at excessive speed as it overtook a garda jeep in which he was a passenger. Mr. Gannon was travelling at one hundred and thirty kmH. The necessary opinion as to intoxication was formed when Mr. Corrigan was stopped by the gardaí and he was handcuffed in the course of effecting arrest. Gda. Kenny told the District Court that he was handcuffed for his own safety, for the safety of the gardaí and the safety of other road users as they were standing on the hard shoulder of the M50 which was very busy at the time. It was accepted that Mr. Gannon was compliant and was not aggressive.’

Judgment of the High Court
6

First of all it is necessary to look at the conclusions of the learned trial judge as to the scope of s. 2 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act 1857 as extended by s. 51 of the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961 and to that end, it would be useful to set out the relevant statutory provisions.

7

Section 2 of the Act of 1857 provides that:

‘After the hearing and determination by a justice or justices of the peace of any information or complaint, which he or they have power to determine in a summary way by any law now in force or hereafter to be made, either party to the proceeding before the said justice or justices may, if dissatisfied with the said determination as being erroneous in point of law, apply in writing within three days after the same to the said justice or justices, to state and sign a case setting forth the facts and the grounds of such determination, for the opinion thereon of one of the Superior Courts of Law to be named by the party applying; and such party, herein-after called the appellant, shall, within three days after receiving such case, transmit the same to the court named in his application, first giving notice in writing of such appeal, with a copy of the case so stated and signed, to the other party to the proceeding in which the determination was given, herein-after called the respondent.’

Section 51 of the Act of 1961 provides at subs. (1) as follows:

‘Section 2 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1857, is hereby extended so as to enable any party to any proceedings whatsoever heard and determined by a justice of the District Court (other than proceedings relating to an indictable offence which was not dealt with summarily by the court) if dissatisfied with such determination as being erroneous on a point of law, to apply in writing within fourteen days after such determination to the said justice to state and sign a case setting forth the facts and the grounds of such determination for the opinion thereon of the High Court.’

The jurisdiction of the High Court is provided for in s. 6 of the Act of 1857 as amended and it provides that:

‘[The High Court] shall hear and determine the question or questions of law arising thereon and shall thereupon reverse, affirm or amend the determination in respect of which the case has been stated, or remit the matter to the justice or justices with the opinion of the Court thereon, or may make such other order in relation to the matter, and may make such orders as to costs as to the Court may seem fit; and all such orders shall be final and conclusive on all parties …’

8

The learned trial judge reviewed a number of decisions of the High Court and the Supreme Court in relation to the jurisdiction of the High Court in an appeal by way of case stated. Thus, he referred to the decision in the case of Clune v. DPP and Ors. [1981] I.L.R.M. 17, Fitzgerald v. DPP [2003] 3 I.R. 247, DPP v. Nangle [1984] I.L.R.M. 171, DPP v. Noonan (Unreported, High Court, Ó”Caoimh J., 16th December, 2002), culminating with a decision in the case of DPP v. Dardis [2015] IEHC 53 in which Hedigan J. applied the decisions in Fitzgerald and Nangle. Hedigan J. in that case pointed out the limited nature of appeals brought under s. 2 of the Act of 1857:

‘This is a procedure exclusively confined to...

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1 cases
  • Reid v Commissioner of an Garda Síochána
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 10 April 2019
    ...has itself been the subject of further consideration by this court in Director of Public Prosecutions v. Pires, Corrigan, and Gannon [2018] IESC 51, (Unreported, Supreme Court, Dunne J.; O'Donnell, MacMenamin, O'Malley, and Finlay Geoghegan JJ. concurring, 23 October 2018). In addition to t......

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