People (Attorney-General) v Quinn

Judgment Date18 December 1965
Date18 December 1965
CourtSupreme Court
People (Attorney-General)

Self-defence - Onus of proof - Trial - Irregularity - Character of accused not put in issue - Questions put in cross-examination - Observations by judge in charge to jury -Conversation between juryman and accused on a matter relating to the trial - Effect on trial.

Q. was convicted of the offence of manslaughter. The evidence showed that he struck the deceased one blow with his fist causing him to fall to the ground and fracture his skull as a result of which he died. Q. sought to justify his action by saying that he struck the blow in self-defence. The trial commenced on Friday, 18th January, 1963, and concluded with a verdict of guilty on the following day. On Tuesday, 22nd January, 1963, the trial Judge sat to pronounce judgment when counsel for Q. informed the trial Judge that on the previous Friday evening, before the prosecution had concluded and after the Court had adjourned to the following morning, a juror, in company with a witness who had just given evidence at the trial, while passing the accused who was standing with his sister in the hall of the Courthouse, addressing Q., said:—"You should have objected to that jury. Do you know who I am?" to which Q.replied. "Yes." The juror continued:—"I am Michael Vaughan. Did you not hear the address, O'Brien's Bridge?" The accused's sister then said:—"You should not be talking to us at all. Did you not hear what the judge said?" The juror and the witness then left the courthouse. The trial Judge refused an application to arrest judgment and to direct a new trial and he sentenced Q. to 12 months' imprisonment. On appeal to the Supreme Court, pursuant to a certificate granted by the Court of Criminal Appeal, it was held by the Supreme Court ( Ó Dálaigh C.J., Lavery, Kingsmill Moore, Walsh, and Teevan JJ.) 1, that the conduct of the juryman was not calculated to prejudice the fair hearing and decision of the case and the Court therefore rejected this ground of appeal; 2, that the Court was of opinion that the directions of the trial Judge on self-defence introduced such an element of doubt on the question of the onus of proof that the conviction could not be allowed to stand. Per Walsh J.: —"When the evidence in a case, whether it be the evidence offered by the prosecution or by the defence, discloses a possible defence of self-defence, the onus remains throughout upon the prosecution to establish that the accused is guilty of the offence charged...

To continue reading

Request your trial
29 cases
  • Sweeney v Ireland
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 28 May 2019
    ...burden of adducing evidence in the context of the justificatory defence of the lawful use of self-defence in The People (AG) v Quinn [1965] IR 366 at 382, Walsh J stated: When the evidence in a case, whether it be the evidence offered by the prosecution or by the defence, discloses a possi......
  • DPP v McNamara
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 26 June 2020
    ...burden was explained in the context of the justificatory defence of the lawful use of force by Walsh J in The People (AG) v Quinn [1965] IR 366 at 382. The accused carries the burden of adducing a sufficiency of evidence to enable the defence to be considered by the jury; The People (DPP) ......
  • The People (Director of Public Prosecutions) v Heffernan
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 7 February 2017 a criminal trial, as emphasised in McGowan v. Carville [1960] I.R. 330 and The People (at the Suit of the Attorney General) v. Quinn [1965] I.R. 366, is that the prosecution must prove guilt, while the accused is not obliged to prove anything. The prosecution must also disprove most of......
  • DPP v Fitzgerald
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 29 November 2018
    ...the burden of adducing evidence and this is borne by the accused; see in that regard the judgment of Walsh J in The People (AG) v Quinn [1965] IR 366 at 382 and DPP v Clarke [1994] 3 IR 289. 29 In this case, the issue was not raised. Instead, the run of the trial indicates that, as regard......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • In the Irish Courts
    • United Kingdom
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The No. 31-3, July 1967
    • 1 July 1967
    ...Irish CourtsSUPREMECOURTINEIREA TALKATIVE JURYMAN: THE DEFENCE OF SELF-DEFENCEThe People(A.G.) v. QuinnTHE appellant in this case (1965 I.R. 366) was chargedwiththemanslaughter of one who was stated to be his closefriend.Thetwo men had drinks together in a public house andhad left on amicab......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT