People (Attorney General) v Melody


1965 WJSC-CCA 447


( O'Keeffe P., FitzGerald and Henchy JJ. )
The People (Attorney General) v. James Melody
11th May 1967

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

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.


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


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.


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


(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.


(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.


(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

(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.


(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.


(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.


(d) In...

To continue reading