People (Attorney General) v Kehoe

Judgment Date19 June 1951
Date19 June 1951
CourtCentral Criminal Court (Ireland)

Central Criminal Court.

The People v. Kehoe.
THE PEOPLE (at the suit of the Attorney General)

Criminal law - Evidence - Competency of witness - Mode of ascertaining - Right of person taking objection to competency to cross-examine and call evidence upon issue of competency - Judge's duty to determine competency or incompetency - Practice.

Criminal Prosecution.

James Kehoe was charged at the Central Criminal Court, in Dublin, upon three counts of having unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman who was feeble-minded in circumstances which proved that James Kehoe knew, at the time of the alleged offences, that such woman was feeble-minded, contrary to s. 4 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1935 (No. 6 of 1935). In the course of the trial counsel for the prosecution tendered in evidence the woman with whom the unlawful carnal knowledge was alleged to have taken place. Counsel for the accused objected to the witness giving evidence, upon the ground of incompetency, submitted that the Judge should examine the witness to determine whether she understood the nature and obligation of an oath, and reserved the right to cross-examine the witness or to call evidence upon this issue.

When objection is taken to the competency of a witness, the party taking the objection has the right to cross-examine the witness upon the issue of competency and to call evidence as to competency if he desires. The determination of the competency or incompetency of the witness is for the judge. The judge may allow the counsel tendering the witness to examine the witness to demonstrate competency and, afterwards, counsel for the party taking the objection may cross-examine and call evidence if he so desires.

So held by Maguire J.

Maguire J. :—

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2 cases
  • DPP v Campion
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 30 July 2018
    ...of expert psychiatric evidence on the question of the reliability of a witness, referring to Director of Public Prosecutions v Kehoe [1951] I.R. 70 and Toohey v The Metropolitan Police Commissioner [1965] A.C. 595. He was also concerned about the lack of any authority for the suggestion t......
  • Relihan v Kerry County Council
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 14 May 1970
    ...of law which Mr. Justice Teevan purported to apply is stated by Mr. Justice Kingsmill-Moore in Gardiner v. Kildare Co.Council. ( (1951) I.R. 70 at pp. 90-91) is in these terms: 39"It has been long established by a series of authoritative cases that the mere proof that a man has acted in a p......
1 books & journal articles

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