O'Driscoll v Judge Wallace

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeO'Hanlon J.
Judgment Date01 January 1995
Neutral Citation1994 WJSC-HC 3849
CourtHigh Court
Docket Number128 J.R./1993,[1993 No. 128JR]
Date01 January 1995

1994 WJSC-HC 3849

THE HIGH COURT

128 J.R./1993
O'DRISCOLL v. WALLACE
Judicial Review

BETWEEN

JAMES (JIM BOB) O'DRISCOLL AND PATRICKWILLIAMSON
APPLICANTS

AND

DISTRICT JUDGE BRENDAN WALLACE AND THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLICPROSECUTIONS
RESPONDENTS

Citations:

COWZER V KIRBY 1992 ICLJ 114

CLUNE V DPP 1981 ILRM 17

DPP V DOYLE UNREP SUPREME 9.3.94

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 1967 S6(1)

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 1967

MAGISTRATES COURT (ADVANCE INFORMATION) RULES 1985 SI 601/1985 RULE 5 (UK)

MAGISTRATES COURT (ADVANCE INFORMATION) RULES 1985 SI 601/1985 RULE 4 (UK)

Synopsis:

CRIMINAL LAW

Trial

Mode - District Court - Discretion - Exercise - Charge - Indict able offence - Summary trial - Evidence - Notice - Defendant's right to obtain copy statements of prosecution witnesses - Right claimed before defendant's election - Criminal Justice Act, 1951, s. 2 - (1993/128 JR - O'Hanlon J. - 17/8/94) - [1995] 1 I.R. 237

|O'Driscoll v. Wallace|

DISTRICT COURT

Offence

Trial - Defendant - Rights - Prosecution - Evidence - Notice - Summary trial of indictable offence - Defendant's right to copy statements of prosecution witnesses - Right claimed before defen G7E dant's election - (1993/128 JR - O'Hanlon J. - 17/8/94)1995 1 IR 237

|O'Driscoll v. Wallace|

NATURAL JUSTICE

Fair procedures

Offence - Trial - Defendant - Rights - Prosecution - Evidence - Notice - Entitlement - District Court - Summary trial of indict able offence - Defendant's right to copy statements of prosecution witnesses - Right claimed before defendant's election - (1993/128 JR - O'Hanlon J. - 17/8/94) - [1995] 1 I.R. 237

|O'Driscoll v. Wallace|

NOTICE

Necessity

Trial - Prosecution - Obligation - District Court - Summary trial of indictable offence - Defendant's right to copy statements of prosecution witnesses - Right claimed before defendant's election - (1993/128 JR - O'Hanlon J. - 17/8/94) - [1995] 1 I.R. 237

|O'Driscoll v. Wallace|

1

Judgment delivered the 17th day of August, 1994by O'Hanlon J.

2

By Order of Mr. Justice Barron dated the 3rd May, 1993, the Applicants were granted leave to apply for Judicial Review for the purpose of seeking Orders of Certiorari and Prohibition quashing a ruling made by District Judge Brendan Wallace on the 6th April, 1993, to the effect that the Applicants were not entitled to copies of statements made by witnesses to the Garda Siochana investigating the allegation that the Applicants assaulted one, Jerry Foley, on the 7th July, 1992, thereby causing him actual bodily harm, pending their election between summary trial and trial by jury, and prohibiting the said Respondents from proceeding further with the said proceedings unless and until such statements were furnished to the Applicants.

3

The Applicants were served with Summonses in relation to the said charges dated the 27th January, 1993, and instructed Eamonn Fleming, Solicitor of Bandon, to represent them on the hearing of the said charges. Mr. Fleming wrote to the Member in Charge of Clonakilty Garda Station on the 5th March, 1993,requesting copies of all statements made by any persons in connection with the investigation of the said offences, and received a reply from the Superintendent informing him that the documents applied for would not be supplied until the Gardai were satisfied that the case was to be heard in the District Court by way of Summary Trial. If the case were to be sent for trial before judge and jury in the Circuit Court the Book of Evidence would be furnished in due course.

4

The offence with which the Applicants were charged was one of the offences listed in the First Schedule to the Criminal Justice Act, 1951, and accordingly was an indictable offence triable summarily if the District Judge dealing with the matter was of opinion that the facts proved or alleged constituted a minor offence fit to be so tried, and the accused on being informed of his right to be tried with a jury, did not object to being tried summarily.

5

When the case came on for hearing before the District Judge on the 6th April, 1993, the solicitor for the Applicants again made application for the copies of the statements before his clients' election for summary trial or trial by jury was made, but was unsuccessful, and the hearing of the charge was adjourned to enable the Applicants consider their position in the light of that ruling.

6

A similar problem arose in the case of Cowzer v. Kirby D.J., and theD.P.P., in which judgment was delivered by Mr. Justice Barr on the 11th February, 1991.

7

For the purpose of the present proceedings, the relevant part of his judgment reads as follows:-

8

There is no doubt that the original charge brought against the applicant and the charge which it is proposed to substitute for it are far from being trivial matters but are serious charges which put the applicant's liberty at stake and expose him to the likelihood of a significant prison sentence in the event of conviction. The offence charged is an indictable one and if the applicant had not waived his right to trial by jury he would have been returned to the Circuit Criminal Court, if,...

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