Gill v Connellan

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr. Justice Lynch
Judgment Date01 January 1988
Neutral Citation1987 WJSC-HC 1683
CourtHigh Court
Docket Number[1987 No. 240 J.R.],No. 240 J.R./1987
Date01 January 1988
GILL v. CONNELLON

BETWEEN

JOHN GILL
APPLICANT

AND

DISTRICT JUSTICE PETER A. CONNELLON
RESPONDENT

1987 WJSC-HC 1683

No. 240 J.R./1987

THE HIGH COURT

Synopsis:

CONSTITUTION

Courts

Administration of justice - Trial - Summary offence - Defence - Hindrance - Interventions of trial judge - Cross-examination of prosecution witness by solicitor for the defendant - The judge made several interventions; on the first occasion the judge queried the relevance of the questions posed by the solicitor and was informed that the solicitor was trying to establish that certain statutory requirements had not been satisfied, to which the judge replied:- "It does not matter what you say. The Act was complied with". The solicitor continued to explain the legal basis for his questions and was informed that he was wasting time - The solicitor submitted that he was entitled to make the points that he wished to make but the judge said that the solicitor could go on and on and the judge said "I am not interested in it". - The solicitor continued to make his submissions to the judge in support of his line of cross-examination until the judge said:- "I do not care; I am not interested. Do you want to call witnesses? - The solicitor decided that there was no point in calling witnesses in view of the attitude of the judge, whereupon the judge convicted the defendant while the witness was still in the witness-box - The solicitor enquired whether the prosecution case was finished and was informed that it was complete; the judge then convicted the defendant again - The defendant applied to the High Court for an order of certiorari quashing the order of conviction - Held that it appeared that the solicitor had been attempting to make proper submissions, that the trial had not been conducted in due course of law and that, accordingly, the conviction must be quashed although the order did not show any error on its face: ~The State (Healy) v. Donoghue~ [1976] IR 325 considered - Articles 34, 38, 40 - (1987/240 JR - Lynch J. - 25/11/87) [1988] ILRM 448 [1987] IR 541

|Gill v. Connellon|

CONSTITUTION

Personal rights

Fair procedures - Trial - Criminal charge - Defence - Hindrance - The defendant's conviction for a summary offence was quashed, because the defence to the charge had been hampered, although the order of conviction did not show lack of jurisdiction on its face - ~See~ Constitution, courts - (1987/240 JR - Lynch J. - 25/11/87) [1988] ILRM 448 [1987] IR 541

|Gill v. Connellon|

JUDICIAL REVIEW

Certiorari

Trial - Criminal charge - Conviction - Defence - Hindrance - The order of conviction revealed no error on its face - Nevertheless, the order was quashed on the ground that the defence had been hampered and, accordingly, the trial had not been conducted in due course of law - ~See~ Constitution, courts - (1987/240 JR - Lynch J. - 25/21/87) [1988] ILRM 448 [1987] IR 541

|Gill v. Connellon|

NATURAL JUSTICE

Fair procedures

Trial - Defence - Hindrance - Summary offence - Conviction - The order of conviction did not show any error on its face - Nevertheless, the order was quashed on certiorari on the ground that the defence had been hampered and, accordingly, the trial had not been conducted in due course of law - ~See~ Constitution, courts - (1987/240 JR - Lynch J. - 25/11/87) [1988] ILRM 448 [1987] IR 541

|Gill v. Connellon|

JUDGE

Trial

Interventions - Defence - Hindrance - Summary offence - Conviction - Order of conviction quashed on the ground that the trial had not been conducted in due course of law - ~See~ Constitution, courts - (1987/240 JR - Lynch J. - 25/11/87) [1988] ILRM 448 [1987] IR 541

Citations:

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S49(2)

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S49(4)

ROAD TRAFFIC (AMDT) ACT 1978 S10

PEOPLE V MCGUINESS 1978 IR 189

R V HAMILTON 113 SJ 546

HEALY, STATE V O'DONOGHUE 1976 IR 325, 110 ILTR 9, 112 ILTR 37

ROCHE, STATE V DELAP 1980 IR 170

1

Judgment of Mr. Justice Lynch delivered the 25th day of November 1987.

2

This is an application for certiorari by way of Judicial Review in respect of an Order of the District Court made at Longford on the 21st of July 1987 convicting the Applicant of driving a mechanically propelled vehicles on the 21st of April 1987 at Drumlish, County Longford (a public place) while there was present in his body an excess quantity of alcohol contrary to Section 49 (2) and (4) of the Road Traffic Act, 1961as inserted by Section 10 of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act, 1978.

3

The application is made on the following grounds:-

4

(1) The Respondent failed to conduct the hearing of the Prosecution in accordance with the principle of natural justice.

5

(2) The manner and nature of the interruptions of the Respondent resulted in hearing being unsatisfactory and failed to comply with the principles of natural and/or constitutional justice.

6

(3) The Respondent failed to act within his jurisdiction.

7

(4) The Respondent acted in excess of jurisdiction.

8

The facts of the matter appear from the Affidavit of the Applicant's Solicitor sworn on the 31st of July 1987 on foot of which an Order was made by the High Court on the 31st of July 1987 giving leave to bring this application by way of Notice of Motion on the foregoing grounds. An Affidavit of the Superintendent of the Garda Siochana who conducted the prosecution in the District Court at Longford, sworn on the 4th of October 1987, was field and served in opposition to the application. This Affidavit does not, however, specifically challenge any of the particular averments of fact in the Applicant Solicitor's Affidavit.

9

It appears from the Applicant's Solicitor's Affidavit that the arresting Garda gave evidence in examination in chief by the prosecuting Superintendent that he stopped the motor car being driven by the Applicant and required the Applicant to undergo a breathalyser test and thereafter arrested the Applicant and conveyed him to the Garda Station in Longford whereupon a designated registered medical practitioner had been called to attend in accordance with the provisions of the Road Traffic Acts and those provisions were at all material times duly complied with. The arresting Garda also gave evidence of the taking of a sample of blood from the Applicant in a normal manner in accordance with the provisions of the Acts. In cross-examination of the arresting Garda, the Applicant's Solicitor elicited from him that the doctor in question was a lady doctor and that he himself was accompanied by another Garda. The Applicant's Solicitor then, acting on the Applicant's instructions, asked the arresting Garda whether he recalled that the Applicant had produced his right arm first to enable the sample of blood to be taken and that the doctor had great difficulty in obtaining a vein: the Garda replied that he did not recall that incident and that as far as he could recall everything was normal. The Solicitor then asked the Garda whether the Applicant had offered his left arm for the sample but that much the same difficulty arose and the Garda replied that he did not recall that. The Solicitor then asked the Garda whether he recalled that the doctor had forgotten her tourniquet and the Garda replied that he did recall something to that effect. He was then asked whether he recalled squeezing the muscle at the top of the Applicant's arm to enable the doctor to take blood from it and the Garda replied that he did recall doing that.

10

The Respondent then intervened to enquire as to the relevance of this cross-examination to which the Solicitor replied that if the Respondent would bear with him the relevance would become clear within the next question or two. The Solicitor then asked the Garda whether he recalled that his colleague had held the Applicant's wrist and squeezed in at the same time as the arresting Garda held the Applicant's upper arm and squeezed it to assist the doctor in getting a sample of blood and the Garda replied that he did not recall that and thought he had been on his own in the room at the time. The Solicitor then began to ask the Garda whether or not he would accept that...

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