DPP v Redmond

 
FREE EXCERPT

[2006] IESC 25

THE SUPREME COURT

Denham J.

Geoghegan J.

Fennelly J.

Kearns J.

Macken J.

160/2004
DPP v REDMOND
IN THE MATTER OF SECTION 16 OF
THE COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT, 1947
IN THE MATTER OF A CONSULTATIVE CASE
STATED FROM WESTERN CIRCUIT, COUNTY
OF MAYO
IN THE MATTER OF A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION ENTITLED:-
AN POBAL AN AGRA AN STIURTHEORA IONCHUISEAMH
POIBLI
THE PEOPLE AT THE SUIT OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
Prosecutor
v.
SEAN REDMOND
Accused

160/2004 - Denham Geoghegan Fennelly Kearns [Macken agr with latter 3] - Supreme - 6/4/2006 - 2006 3 IR 188 2006 2 ILRM 182 2006 21 4322 2006 IESC 25

COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1947 S16

COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1947 S16

NON-FATAL OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ACT 1997 S4(1)

DPP v O'MAHONY 1986 ILRM 245 1985 IR 517

PEOPLE v MESSITT 1972 IR 204

BRATTY v AG FOR NORTHERN IRELAND 1963 AC 386 1961 3 AER 523 1961 3 WLR 965 1961 46 CAR 1

DOYLE v WICKLOW CO COUNCIL 1974 IR 55

NON-FATAL OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ACT 1997 S4

COURTS (ESTABLISHMENT & CONSTITUTION) ACT 1961 S6A

MCAULEY & MCCUTCHEON CRIMINAL LIABILITY: A GRAMMAR 2000 CHAPTER 14.15

AG v O'BRIEN 1936 IR 263

R v PODOLA 1960 1 QB 325 1959 3 AER 418 1959 3 WLR 718 1959 43 CAR 220

CONSTITUTION ART 38

TRIAL OF LUNATICS ACT 1883 S2(1)

TRIAL OF LUNATICS ACT 1883 S2(2)

CRIMINAL LUNATICS ACT 1800 (UK) S2

COUGHLAN, STATE v MIN FOR JUSTICE 1968 102 ILTR 177

R v PRITCHARD 1836 7 C & P 303

MCAULEY INSANITY, PSYCHIATRY & CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY 1993 134

CRIMINAL LAW:

Insanity

Guilty plea - Jurisdiction to refuse plea of guilty - Unprovoked assault - Evidence that accused insane at time of incident - Whether motive of accused in pleading relevant -Whether abuse of process to accept guilty plea - People (DPP) v O'Mahony [1985] IR517, People (AG) v Messitt [1972] IR 204, AG v O'Brien [1936] IR 263 and Bratty v AG for Northern Ireland [1963] AC 386 considered - Held that trial judge must accept plea (160/2004 - SC - 6/4/2006) [2006] IESC 25, [2006] 3 IR 188; [2006] 2 ILRM 182 People (DPP) v Redmond

Mr. Justice Geoghegan
1

This is a consultative Case Stated sent forward to this court by His Honour Judge Kevin Haugh, S.C. (as he then was) sitting in Castlebar Circuit Court as trial judge in an indictable prosecution for causing serious harm contrary to section 4(1) of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act,1997. Since the signing of the Case Stated, Judge Haugh has been appointed a judge of the High Court. Under the relevant statutory provisions however the President of the High Court, the President of the Circuit Court and Haugh J. (as he now is) have all agreed that Haugh J. should complete this case as a judge of the Circuit Court.

2

I think it important to set out the Case Stated in full. It reads as follows:

"Case Stated"

3

1. On the 1st July 2003 the above named accused was before Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court [sitting at the courthouse in Westport] on a count of causing serious harm contrary to section 4(1) of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act, 1997. The particulars of the offence alleged that the accused did on the 20th November, 2002 at Castlebar in the county of Mayo intentionally or recklessly cause serious harm to one Liam Humbar.

4

2. Defence counsel (John F. Kiely B.L., instructed by Aidan Crowley, solicitor of Egan, Daughter and Company, solicitors, Castlebar, Co. Mayo) applied to the court for a jury to be empanelled to determine the issue as to whether or not the accused was fit to plead. This application was later withdrawn.

5

3. When arraigned before Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court (sitting at the courthouse in Westport) on the 1st July 2003 before Judge Harvey Kenny B.L., the accused pleaded guilty to the above count. The matter was then adjourned to the following term for sentence. The accused was in custody on the charge and was remanded in custody.

6

4. The matter was listed before me at Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court (sitting at the courthouse in Westport) on the 9th day of December 2003 and I fixed the 13th day of December 2003 for the sentence hearing.

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5. On the 12th day of December 2003 Detective Garda R.J. Lawlor gave evidence before me in relation to the offence and the background circumstances.

6. The facts are briefly as follows:-
8

Around 9.30 a.m. on the 20th November 2002 the accused attacked the victim with a knife and caused him serious injuries. The attack was an unprovoked attack in the vicinity of St. Mary's Psychiatric Hospital in Castlebar and was witnessed by a number of individuals. The accused has a psychiatric history and was attending the hospital on the morning in question for an appointment with his psychiatrist, Dr. John Connolly. The victim was an in-patient of St. Mary's Psychiatric Hospital. Following the stabbing the accused went into an office in the psychiatric hospital. He told a person in the office that he had stabbed somebody and he told them where the knife was. No rational motive or discernible reason was established for the attack. The accused apparently told Dr. O'Rourke (psychiatrist) when examined on the day of the incident that he had heard voices telling him to "get them" and that his attack was in response to the voices.

9

7. By agreement with the prosecution the defence submitted a medical report dated the 26th day of March 2003 from Dr. Charles Smith (consultant psychiatrist in the Central Mental Hospital) and a medical report from Dr. Seamus Geraghty (consultant psychiatrist) dated the 29th November 2003 in evidence. The book of evidence contained a statement of evidence from Dr. John Connolly (consultant psychiatrist) and from Dr. D. O'Rourke (consultant psychiatrist). I read these medical reports and witness statements. A copy of each is attached hereto.

10

8. At this point in the proceedings I discussed with the defence counsel and prosecution counsel the fact that there was no defence of "diminished responsibility" in Irish law and I referred to the Supreme Court decision inThe People (DPP) v. O'Mahony [1985] I.R. 517.

11

9. I enquired as to whether or not I had any jurisdiction to raise an issue in relation to the plea of guilty by the accused if, having considered the evidence, I had substantial grounds for believing that the accused may have been insane in law at the time of the commission of acts alleged to constitute the offence and in substitution to enter on his behalf a plea of "not guilty".

12

10. The matter was then adjourned to the 18th day of December, 2003 so that counsel could consider the position and make further submissions. On the 18th day of December, 2003 defence counsel indicated to the court that he would in any event be seeking a case stated on this point. Prosecution counsel indicated that some further time was needed to obtain instructions from the DPP. The matter was further adjourned to the 13th day of January 2004.

13

11. On the 13th day of January 2004 defence counsel reiterated that he was seeking a consultative case stated. Prosecution counsel indicated that he was not opposing the application for a consultative case stated. The matter was further adjourned for mention to the 23/1/04.

14

12. In light of the evidence before me, I am of the opinion that there are substantial grounds for believing that the accused may have been insane in law at the time of the commission of the alleged offence and that a defence of "not guilty" may be a more appropriate plea than a plea of "guilty". As I understand the law, it is that a person who is found not guilty by reason of insanity is deserving of treatment not punishment whereas a person who pleads guilty or who is found guilty is deserving of punishment. I am informed that the plea of the accused in this instance is motivated by practical considerations û i.e. he would prefer to have a definite sentence rather than a situation whereby he would be detained at the pleasure of the Government in the Central Mental Hospital.

15

13. Transcripts of the sentence hearings are attached hereto.

16

In these circumstances I require the assistance of the Supreme Court and answers to the following questions:-

17

Have I the power/duty or should I decline to act on a plea of guilty if, on the evidence before me, I am satisfied that I have substantial grounds for believing that the accused was insane at the time he committed the acts alleged to constitute the offence. Should I in those circumstances decline to accept a plea of guilty, enter a plea of "not guilty" on behalf of the accused and seek to ensure that the issue of his insanity is fully investigated in the course of his trial?"

18

It will be noted that the Case Stated annexes medical reports and the transcript of the sentencing hearing. Not only is this at first sight unorthodox but it would not usually be permitted. Even in the normal situation however, it is not a simple question of the court refusing to look at improperly annexed documentation. If the court considers that the Cast Stated itself might have been expanded in some way if the judge...

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