O'Neill (The State) v Shannon

Judgment Date01 January 1932
Date01 January 1932
CourtHigh Court (Irish Free State)

High Court.

The State (O'Neill) v. Shannon
The STATE at the Prosecution of FLORENCE O'NEILL,Suing by her next Friend, KATHLEEN O'NEILL
WILLIAM GEORGE SHANNON, Esquire, K.C., one on the Judges of the Circuit Court of Justice, Dublin Circuit (1)

Illegitimate child - Information by mather identifying father of child - Summons issued thereon - Name and address of alleged father incorrectly stated - Amendment of summons - Sufficiency of service of amended summons - Order by District Justice against alleged father for maintenance of child - Appeal to Circuit Court Judge - Decision of Circuit Court Judge on preliminary objection to jurisdiction as to sufficiency of service of summons - Certiorari to quash Circuit Court Judge's order - Order regular on its face - Whether evidence before Circuit Court Judge reviewable on certiorari - Illegitimate Children (Affiliation Orders) Act, 1930 (No. 17 of 1930), sects. 2 and 3.


The applicant, Florence O'Neill, applied to make absolute, notwithstanding cause shown, a conditional order, dated the

23rd day of February, 1931, directed to Circuit Court Judge Shannon, to return into the High Court for the purpose of being quashed an order of the said Circuit Court Judge, dated the 2nd day of February, 1931.

The facts are set out in Judge Shannon's judgment, the material portion of which is as follows:—

"This is an appeal from an order, dated the 31st day of October, 1930, made by the Senior of the Justices of the Dublin District Court, under the Illegitimate Children (Affiliation Orders) Act, 1930 (No. 17 of 1930) (1). The facts, so far as they are relevant to the points taken before us, are not in dispute.

On the 16th September, 1930, the applicant swore an information in writing, pursuant to sect. 2 of the above-mentioned Act, wherein she stated that she was the mother of an illegitimate child, who was born on the 15th May, 1930, that the father of the said child was 'Thomas O'Brien, of No. 45 Bolton Street, in the City of Dublin,' and she prayed that a summons might issue 'requiring the said Thomas O'Brien to appear at the hearing of an application for an affiliation order' in respect of her said child. The section referred to provides, inter alia,that upon the application of the mother of an illegitimate child 'upon an information in writing upon oath being made by the mother of such child identifying the father of such child the Justice of the District Court in the District in which such mother resides may issue a summons or other process requiring the person (in this Act referred to as the alleged father) identified in such information as the father of such child to appear on the hearing of an application' for an affiliation order in respect of such child.

"Acting upon the information referred to, Mr. O'Sullivan, one of the Justices of the Metropolitan District of Dublin, issued

a summons to the defendant requiring him to attend the Court on hearing of an application by the said Florence O'Neill for an affiliation order.

"In this summons the defendant was named and described as in the said information: that is, as 'Thomas O'Brien, of 45 Bolton Street, Dublin.' A copy of this summons was then given to Mr. Donohoe, summons server, for service upon the defendant. Mr. Donohoe called upon the defendant, but did not serve him with the summons, he being informed by the defendant that his name was not 'Thomas O'Brien,' but Joseph Columbus O'Brien, and that his address as Ballyowen, Clondalkin, in the County of Dublin.

The matter was then brought before the Senior District Justice, who amended the original summons by describing the defendant therein as 'Joseph Columbus O'Brien, alias Thomas O'Brien, of Ballyowen, Clondalkin,' deleting the address '45 Bolton Street, Dublin,' and when the case was subsequently heard before him, also made the appropriate amendments in the Justices' Minute Book. The amendments in the summons and minute book were initialled by the Senior District Justice. What purports to be a copy of the amended summons was served upon the defendant, but in fact the learned Justice's initials do not appear upon such copy, whilst in the body of the supposed copy appear the words, 'alias Thomas O'Brien,' which do not appear in the original amended summons.

The defendant appeared in Court upon the hearing of the application, when an affiliation order was made against him, he being therein described as 'Joseph Columbus O'Brien, of Ballyowen, Clondalkin, in the County of Dublin,' the said order making no reference to the name 'Thomas O'Brien.'

It is submitted, in the first place, on behalf of the defendant that the order is bad, because no such summons as initialled by the learned Senior Justice was in fact served upon him. In

my opinion, there is no substance in this point, because a summons is merely a document requiring the attendance of a defendant in Court, and once the defendant is in Court either the Justice or I could make all necessary amendments in the summons and Justice's Minute Book

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3 cases
  • The State (Cronin) v Circuit Court Judge of the Western Circuit
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court (Irish Free State)
    • 1 January 1937
    ...order for certiorari and mandamus, and that, accordingly, the conditional order must be made absolute. The State (O'Neill) v. ShannonIR, [1931] I. R. 691, applied. Held, by the Supreme Court, affirming the High Court, that C. was a competent prosecutor; but, reversing the High Court, that t......
  • The State (Gorman) v Wicklow Circuit Judge
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 1 January 1950
    ...(4) [1910] 2 I. R. 695. (5) 9 EX. 111. (6) 30 L. R. I. 15. (7) [1908] 2 I. R. 285. (8) [1916] 2 I. R. 313. (9) [1937] I. R. 34. (10) [1931] I. R. 691. (11) [1905] 2 I. R. (12) [1904] 2 I. R. 64. (1) 4 N. I. J. R. 196. (2) 9 EX, 111. (1) 9 EX. 111. (2) 30 L. R. I. 15. (1) [1908] 2 I. R. 285.......
  • The State (Hunt) v Circuit Court Judge of The Midland Circuit
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court (Irish Free State)
    • 31 July 1934

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