People (Attorney General) v Riordan

JurisdictionIreland
CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal
Judgment Date02 May 1948

Court of Criminal Appeal.

The People (Attorney-General) v. Riordan.
THE PEOPLE (at the suit of the ATTORNEY-GENERAL)
and
MICHAEL J. RIORDAN (1)

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.

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 grounds of the application are not material to this report. The application was made by the applicant in person.

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...

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4 cases
  • The State v Mitchell
    • Trinidad & Tobago
    • Court of Appeal
    • 1 January 1977
  • DPP v McDonnell
    • Ireland
    • Court of Criminal Appeal
    • 3 March 2009
    ...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 14.5.2......
  • Mitchell v The State
    • Trinidad & Tobago
    • Court of Appeal
    • 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......
  • DPP v Cummins
    • Ireland
    • Court of Criminal Appeal
    • 20 December 1983
    ...(as it has been called in the course of argument) of the unsworn statement of an accused is The People (Attorney General) v.Riordan (1948) I.R. 416. That was a decision of the Court of Criminal Appealand the judgment of the Court was delivered by Gavan-Duffy P. There he referred to the unsw......

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