People (Attorney General) v Riordan

JurisdictionIreland
CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal
Judgment Date02 May 1948
Date02 May 1948
The People (Attorney-General) v. Riordan.
THE PEOPLE (at the suit of the ATTORNEY-GENERAL)
and
MICHAEL J. RIORDAN (1)

Court of Criminal Appeal.

Criminal law - Appeal - Trial - Unsworn statement from dock - Integral part of evidence - Must be included in transcript of evidence - Evidence of character of prisoner before sentence - Evidence of other complaints against prisoner - Whether admissible.

At his trial the prisoner elected not to give evidence but made an unsworn statement from the dock. The statement was not put before the jury in the summing-up and it did not appear in the official transcript of the evidence. Before sentence a superintendent of the Gárda Síochána, gave evidence of the character of the prisoner and stated that there were no previous convictions against him but that other complaints against him had been brought to his notice. He gave details of these complaints. On appeal against conviction and sentence:

Held that an unsworn statement from the dock is an integral part of the evidence which should be put to the jury in the charge of the trial Judge and should be included in the official transcript of the evidence.

Held also, that in giving evidence of the character of the prisoner after conviction and before sentence, the prosecution is not entitled to give evidence of other complaints against the accused of which the police are aware.

Criminal Appeal.

Michael J. Riordan was, on 5th March, 1946, tried and convicted in the Circuit Court at Cork on eight counts of having obtained money by false pretences. He conducted his own defence at the trial and elected not to give evidence on his own behalf but made an unsworn statement of his defence from the dock. He called no witnesses. He was convicted on each count and sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment with hard labour on each count, the sentences to run concurrently.

Before sentence the prosecution called a superintendent of the Gárda Síochána to give evidence of the character of the accused. Among other questions, he was asked by counsel for the State if other complaints against the prisoner had been brought to his notice. The superintendent replied in the affirmative and gave details of the complaints.

The other facts of the case are, for the purpose of this report, sufficiently set forth in the head-note and in the judgment of the Court.

The applicant applied to the Court of Criminal Appeal for leave to appeal against the convictions and sentences. The...

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5 cases
  • DPP v McDonnell
    • Ireland
    • Court of Criminal Appeal
    • 3 March 2009
    ...JOHN LINSEY) 1951 35 CAR 33 STANBRIDGE, STATE v MAHON 1979 IR 214 RYAN & MAGEE THE IRISH CRIMINAL PROCESS 1983 393-4 AG, PEOPLE v RIORDAN 1948 IR 416 LAW REFORM CMSN CONSULTATION PAPER ON SENTENCING 1993 PARA 1.22 DPP v MCMANUS UNREP CCA 21.3.2003 2003/18/4168 DPP v MURPHY UNREP CCA 14.5.......
  • Mitchell v The State
    • Trinidad & Tobago
    • Court of Appeal (Trinidad and Tobago)
    • 23 November 1977
    ...other way in which a prisoner could assert any facts in a trial. Stronger support was to be found in The People (Att.-Gen.) v. Riordan (1948) I.R. 416, an Irish case in which the President of the Court of Criminal Appeal in the Irish Republic, Gavin Duffy P., at p. 417, described a statemen......
  • The State v Mitchell
    • Trinidad & Tobago
    • Court of Appeal (Trinidad and Tobago)
    • Invalid date
  • R v Cele
    • South Africa
    • Appellate Division
    • 20 November 1958
    ...the guilt or otherwise of the accused. See also Cross Evidence who at p. 172 mentions the Irish case of The People (A - G) v Riordan, 1948 I.R. 416 (a full report of which is not A presently available to me) wherein a conviction was quashed because of the trial Judge's failure to put to the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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