People (Attorney General) v Melody

 
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1965 WJSC-CCA 447

COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEAL

PEOPLE (ATTORNEY GENERAL) v. MELODY
( O'Keeffe P., FitzGerald and Henchy JJ. )
The People (Attorney General) v. James Melody
11th May 1967
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Appeal against conviction at the Galway Circuit Court on 18th January, 1967 of receiving a Volkswagen motor car in the County of Galway knowing it to have been stolen - whether car registration book admissible as a "public document" - whether the words "in the County of Galway" in the receiving count are surplusage - whether direction in regard to explanation given by the accused correct in law. HELD direction in regard to accused's explanation incorrect in law - not necessary to decide issue as to admissibility of car registration book - precise place of receiving not material in this case. Conviction quashed and new trial ordered on 16th March 1967 and reasons stated on 11th May, 1967.

Thursday, 11th May, 1967
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The Applicant was tried in the Circuit Court in Galway on 17th and 18th January, 1967, on an indictment containing two Counts, one charging larceny of a Volkswagen motor car LZC 564 on or about 21st February, 1966, and the other charging receiving the same motor car on a date unknown between the 21st February, 1966, and 28th July, 1966, in the County of Galway, knowing it to have been stolen. At the conclusion of the case for the prosecution the trial Judge gave a direction on the Larceny charge. The Applicant was found guilty by the jury on the receiving Count and was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment. His application to this Court was for leave to appeal against this conviction and sentence. His application for leave to appeal was treated as the hearing of his appeal, and leave was granted and the conviction was set aside and a new trial ordered on the 16th March, 1967, when the Court indicated that it would later state the grounds of the decision and deal with the question of costs.

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The grounds of appeal as stated in the Application for Leave to Appeal were as follows:

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2 "1. That there was no evidence, or alternatively no sufficient evidence adduced by the prosecution to establish or from which it could be inferred.

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(a) That the motor car referred to in Count 2 of Indictment had been stolen from Messrs. Linders of Smithfield Limited.

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(b) That the motor car of which the Accused was in possession when the witness Sergeant Dillon met his in Galway on the 27th July, 1966 was (1) a stolen motor car or (11) the motor care referred to in the Court No. 2 of Indictment.

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(c) That the motor car referred to in Count No. 2 of the Indictment had been received by the Accused in the County of Galway.

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(d) That at the time the Accused obtained possession of the motor car, of which he was in possession when he met the witness Sergeant Dillon in Galway on the 27th July, 1966 he knew the said car was a stolen motor car.

2. That the learned Trial Judge erred in law
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(a) in not acceding to the Application made by Counsel for the Accused at the conclusion of the case for the prosecution for a direction to the Jury to acquit the Accused of the charge contained in Count No. 2 of the Indictment.

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(b) In admitting in evidence the document, marked Exhibit "G" alleged to be the Registration of Tax Book of the motor car referred to in the Indictment.

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(c) In admitting in evidence the evidence of the witness Walter Sutton, purporting to identify the motor car inspected by him at the Galway Garda Station on the 31st October, 1966 as the motor car referred to in the Indictment, of his having recognized certain marks on or features of the said motor car inspected by him.

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(d) In admitting in evidence the document marked Exhibit Y purporting to be the Registration or Tax Book of the Motor Car bearing registration No. GIM 188.

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(e) In not directing the Jury in accordance with the Requisitions made to him by Counsel for the accused after the Jury had first retired, and after they had returned following their recall to the Court by him after Lunch time.

3. That the learned Trial Judge misdirected the Jury
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(a) In directing them that the evidence of the witnesses Patrick Conway and Frank Walsh was relevant to the charge upon which the Accused was being tried.

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(b) In stressing to them in his charge and when he recalled them after lunch time that the fact that the car, of which the Accused had possession when he met the witness Sergeant Dillon in Galway on the 27th July, 1966, has false number plates was a fact which they should consider in determining whether or not the Accused knew the said motor car had been stolen.

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(c) In that, when he recalled the Jury after lunch time his direction to them in relation to a consideration of the question as to whether or not the Accused had knowledge that the said motor car was a stolen car was inadequate and unduly prejudicial to the Accused.

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(d) In that in answering the question put by the Foreman of the Jury when they returned to Court at approximately 3.15 p.m. on the 18th January, 1967, he did not tall them that there was no evidence that the car referred to in the Indictment had been received by the...

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