People (Attorney General) v Keating

Judgment Date01 January 1953
Date01 January 1953
CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal
The People (Attorney General)

Competency of witness -Charge of having unlawful carnal knowledge of feeble-minded person - Whether witness competent in view of mental condition - Test of competency administered - Trial judge satisfied as to competency - Subsequent trial of another accused person at same sittings of Court on similar charge - Test of competency again necessary -Necessity that tests should be administered in presence of accused and of jury sworn to try his case.

The appellant was convicted in the Circuit Court under s. 4 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1935, of having unlawful carnal knowledge of a feeble-minded girl. On the hearing, two days previously, of a similar charge, in the same Court, of another accused person, questions had been administered to the girl with a view to testing her competency, in view of her mental condition, and the trial Judge had been satisfied that she was fit to give evidence. On the trial of the appellant the trial Judge stated that he was ". . . . aware of her mentality" and had "already ruled...

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