DPP v Reddington

 
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[2014] IECA 25

THE COURT OF APPEAL

President

Birmingham J.

Sheehan J.

272PX/2013
DPP v Reddington
The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Appellant
v.
Stephen Reddington
Respondent

272PX/2013 - Ryan Birmingham Sheehan - Court of Appeal - 5/12/2014 - 2014 17 4739 2014 IECA 25

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 1967 S4(E)

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 1967 S4(4)

MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977 S26

R v INLAND REVENUE CMRS, EX PARTE ROSSMINSTER LTD 1980 AC 952 1980 2 WLR 1 1980 1 AER 80 1980 70 CAR 157

BYRNE v GREY & ORS 1988 IR 31 1988/4/949

DPP v TALLANT 2003 4 IR 343 2003/20/4591 (EX TEMPORE)

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 1967 S4(E)(8B)

Warrants – Evidence – Grounds for suspicion – Applicant seeking to quash decision of trial court – Whether there was a reasonable ground for suspicion

Ryan P.
1

Under s. 4(e) of the Criminal Procedure Act1967, an accused person facing trial may apply to the trial court to dismiss one or more the charges. Under subsection (4) if it appears to the trial judge that there is not a sufficient case to put the accused on trial for any charge to which the application relates, the Court shall dismiss the charge. That is what happened in this case; the learned trial judge to whom the application was made dismissed a charge for reasons which I will deal with in a moment. There is a power to appeal that and that is the case that comes before this Court.

2

The case turns on this point. The trial judge determined and held that, viewed objectively, there was not evidence of a sufficient nature to allow the District Judge to be satisfied that the applicant garda had a cause for reasonable suspicion would be found at the relevant address. Therefore, she said: "I am not satisfied that the issuing of the warrant on the 21st of November, 2011 was in accordance with law."

3

The implications of this are as follows. There was search of a premises. If the search was invalid as being not in accordance with a warrant or if the warrant was issued in circumstances that were not in accordance with law, then it invalidated the warrant and it invalidated the search. The prosecution conceded that that was the essential basis of the case and therefore, if the judge was correct in her conclusion, then that was the end of the case.

4

The matter was tried before the judge on the basis of an analysis of the information that was before the District Judge who issued the search warrant. The search warrant was issued under s. 26 of the Misuse of Drugs Act1977. It says, so far as material, "if a Justice of the District Court is satisfied by information on oath of a member of the Garda Síochána that there is reasonable ground for suspecting that a person is in possession in contravention of this Act on any premises of a controlled drug, then the District Judge or a Peace Commissioner (but we are not concerned with that because in this case it was a District Judge) may issue a search warrant to search the premises", and that is what happened in this case.

5

The trial judge did not hear any evidence, and therefore this Court is in a just as good a position to assess the matter as was the learned trial judge.

6

The information on oath before the trial judge as to the grounds for suspicion was as follows. The investigating applicant Garda said he was member of the Garda Síochána and set out the grounds for suspicion:

"As a result of the ongoing investigation into the sale and supply of controlled drugs...

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