DPP v Reilly


[2015] IECA 53


The President Birmingham J.

Sheehan J.


The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Martin Reilly

Burglary – Appeal against conviction and sentence – Disclosure – Appellant seeking to appeal against conviction and sentence – Whether prosecution failed to make full disclosure

Mr. Justice Birmingham

On the 3rd May, 2013, the appellant was convicted of the offence of burglary and he was subsequently sentenced to eight years imprisonment with the final two years suspended. The burglary in question occurred at a private residence on Cashel Road in Clonmel on the 27th June, 2011, where the sum of €30,000 and St£3,745 was taken.


The grounds of appeal that are put forward are (i) that the prosecution failed to make full disclosure (ii) that the prosecution – the reference really here is to the gardaí– failed to investigate properly or at all the involvement of another person where that person indicated that he had committed the offence and acted alone and (iii) that the prosecutor, and here the reference it is to prosecution counsel, informed the jury that the appellant was arrested while signing on. In fact the ground of appeal stated ‘while signing as part of the bail conditions.’ A further ground relates to the fact that the judge in his charge referred to the doctrine of common design.


It seems necessary to put those grounds of appeal in context and to say a little about the facts of the case. The essential facts were that on the day of the burglary, the 27th June, 2011, the injured party who was a restaurateur left his home and went off to spend the day working in his restaurant, returning to his home shortly after 6.00 pm in the evening. He had difficulty putting his key into the front door and in those circumstances he went around to the back and he found something amiss in that he had not left a window open, but now there was a window open. He went in to the house through the window and he found that the house had been burgled and it was very clear that there had been a disturbance and that the house had been upended and tossed to a significant extent. A significant amount of money was stolen, the amount I have already mentioned, which represented his life savings.


As it happened, in or around the same time, within minutes of this, two gardaí were patrolling in a garda car in the area. It was their evidence at trial that they saw the accused man coming over a ditch on to the road and that he was holding a bag or, as one described it, a pillow case. When the accused saw the garda car, he turned and ran away. The garda who was in the passenger seat got out and went after the accused man. The accused man got away, but in doing so dropped the bag or pillowcase that he was holding into an area of waste ground, nettles and undergrowth. The gardaí returned to the nettles and undergrowth and recovered the bag and there was the sum of money that had been stolen shortly before.


One matter that should be mentioned is that when the gardaí were pursuing the person they contend was Mr. Reilly who was in possession of the pillow case...

To continue reading