DPP v Quilligan and O'Reilly
1985 WJSC-CCC 2055
THE CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT
BOWES, STATE V FITZPATRICK UNREP FINLAY 1.11.78
DPP, PEOPLE V TOWSON UNREP 05.07.78
EMERGENCY POWERS BILL 1976, IN RE
LARCENY ACT 1916
LARCENY ACT 1972
OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE (AMDT) ACT 1940
OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 PART V
OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 PART VI
OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S18
OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S30
OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S35
OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S35(2)
OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S36
OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S36(1)
OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S52
OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S52
PEOPLE V MADDEN ,
Validity - Suspicion of garda - Commission of scheduled offence - Malicious damage to property suspected - Detention of suspect - Suspicion justified - Absence of further suspicion that scheduled offence committed in context of subversive activities - Arrest, detention and interrogation of suspect rendered unlawful by absence of further suspicion - Cf. ~The People v. Walsh~ (C.C.A. - 20/12/85) infra - Offences Against the State Act, 1939, s. 30 - Preliminary issue raise during criminal trial (C.C.C. - Barr J. - 6/12/85).
|The People v. Quilligan|
Interrogation - Scope - Arrest on suspicion - Commission of scheduled offence suspected - Malicious damage to property - Suspicion justified - Detention of suspect - Interrogation of suspect about murder - Incriminatory statement - Subsequent trial of suspect of indictment for murder - Accused challenging validity of arrest and interrogation - Malicious damage being part of actus reus of murder - Arrest and extension of interrogation to subject of murder not unlawful - Offences Against the State Act, 1939, s. 30 - Preliminary issue raised during criminal trial - (C.C.C. - Barr J. - 6/12/85).
|The People v. Quilligan|
Ruling of Mr. Justice Barr delivered the 6th day of December 1985
A preliminary issue has been raised on behalf of the accuseds, Christopher Quilligan and Patrick O'Reilly, in course of their trial for the murder of James Willis on the night of 19th/20th November, 1984 at his dwellinghouse in a remote rural situation at Ballycurreen, Glaunthane, Co. Cork. Both accuseds reside at separate addresses in the city of Cork. On the morning of 12th December, 1984 Detective Sergeant James Cloonan with other Garda Officers called to the home of the accused, Quilligan, and arrested him under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939(the 1939 Act) on suspicion of having committed a scheduled offence viz malicious damage at the home of James and John Willis at Ballycurreen on 19th/20th November, 1984. On the same date and at or about the same time (9 a.m.) D. Sergeant Patrick Brennan with other Gardaí called to the home of the accused, O'Reilly, and arrested him under the same statutory provision and for the same stated reason. The arresting officers brought the respective accuseds to the Bridewell Garda Station in Cork where each was detained and interrogated by Garda Officers about the death of James Willis, the assault and battery of the deceased's brother, John, and other related matters which had occurred on the night of James's death. It is alleged that while in detention each of the accuseds made written statements admitting participation in events which had taken place in the Willis home on the night in question. The successful prosecution of the accuseds for the murder of James Willis depends upon proof of and the admission of these statements into evidence.
Counsel on behalf of each of the accuseds has argued that the purported arrests made under section 30 of the 1939 Act are unlawful; that in the premises the accuseds were in unlawful custody when the alleged incriminating statements were made and, therefore, having regard to the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal in the People -v- Madden, such statements, even if made voluntarily, are not admissible in evidence. This question raises an issue of law for my determination. All relevant evidence has been led. The following facts have been established in evidence and are not in controversy:-
(a) On the night of 19/20th November, 1984 the home of James and John Willis, elderly semi-retired farmers, at Ballycurreen, Glaunthane, was broken into by three men for the purpose of robbery.
(b) The raiders gained entry to the house by bursting the receiver of the Yale type lock on the front door and by damaging a bolt on the back door.
(c) The Willis brothers, particularly James, endeavoured to defend themselves. Both were severely assaulted. James received 82 superficial injuries to various parts of his body and 9 of his ribs were fractured. He was 78 years of age at the time. After the raiders had left, having stolen the Willis's car from their yard, John discovered his brother James in a collapsed condition in the hall of the house and apparently dead. Death was confirmed about an hour afterwards by a doctor who had been called to the scene. Later, a post-mortem examination was carried out and it was confirmed by the State Pathologist, Professor Harbison, that the death of James Willis resulted from heart failure caused by multiple rib fractures; the accumulative effect of many superficial injuries and shock. The pre-existing state of the deceased's lungs and heart were contributory factors. Prior to the assault the victim had been in reasonably good health having regard to his advanced age.
(d) In addition to the minor damage done in gaining entry to the house, the raiders also damaged a few items of furniture in course of the struggle with the Willis brothers and the ransacking of the house in search of cash and other valuables. They also damaged a shotgun which belonged to one of the brothers.
(e) A full scale murder investigation was put in train by Superintendent McGrath within two or three hours from the death of Mr. Willis. Detective Sergeants Cloonan and Brennan were senior members of the investigating team. Conferences presided over by Superintendent McGrath and attended by the investigating officers were held from time to time during the investigation at which all relevant information, including that as to suspects, was pooled.
(f) From the beginning of the investigation the police suspected both accuseds and others of possible complicity in the crimes committed at the Willis home because it was believed that they were the sort of men who were likely to engage in that type of crime. They were each interviewed on 20th November, the day following the murder, but each then denied participation in or knowledge of such crimes.
(g) It was conceded by Superintendent McGrath in evidence that at the time when he directed that each of the accuseds was to be arrested under Section 30 of the 1939 Act the police had insufficient evidence to justify charging either of them with any of the offences committed at the Willis house on 19/20th November, 1984 and that it was necessary to interrogate each of them if there was to be any hope of establishing a case against either. Forensic investigations had yielded little in the way of helpful results.
(h) The Superintendent also frankly conceded in evidence that although malicious damage at the Willis house was no more than a minor part of the totality of crime committed there, nonetheless, he felt justified in directing a section 30 arrest based upon the suspicion that each accused had committed a scheduled offence (i.e. malicious damage) on the night in question and that having so arrested the accuseds, re believed that his officers were then lawfully entitled to interrogate each of them during the period of detention authorised by the section on all of the crimes committed at the Willis home and other related events.
In the light of these facts and bearing in mind that the integrity and competence of the arresting officers was not challenged on behalf of either accused, I was satisfied that each officer had a bona fide suspicion when making their respective arrests that the accuseds may have been involved in malicious damage at the Willis home on the night of James's murder. There remained then two further issues for determination, i.e.:-
(i) Whether, notwithstanding the validity of the suspicions held by the arresting officers, they were entitled to resort to a section 30 arrest, the primary purpose of which was to provide for the interrogation of the accuseds in respect of a non-scheduled offence (i.e. the murder of James Willis) the gravity of which dwarfed into insignificance the minor malicious damage element in the transaction and
(ii) As the offences committed at the Willis home on the night of 19/20th November, 1984 were not alleged to have been committed by or on behalf of any unlawful organisation within the-meaning of section 18 of the 1939 Act, or by a member of any such organisation, was it lawful to arrest, detain and interrogate the accuseds under section 30 of that Act?
As to the first question; it was argued by Counsel on behalf of the accuseds that section 30, being part of a penal statute, must be strictly construed; that when the totality of events at the Willis house on the night of James Willis's murder are reviewed it emerges clearly that the malicious damage element is no more than a peripheral appendage to the centre-piece of the transaction, namely, the murder of the deceased; that it was at all material times so regarded by the investigating police officers who have not yet charged either accused with any related malicious damage offence; that in reality the section 30 arrest was not related to any malicious damage offence at the Willis's house but was, as...
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