People (Attorney-General) v Bond

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
Judgment Date01 Jan 1966

Court of Criminal Appeal.

The People (Attorney General) v. Bond.
THE PEOPLE (at the Suit of the ATTORNEY GENERAL)
and
DENIS G. H. BOND (1)

Criminal law - Evidence - Admissibility - Imputations on character of prosecution witnesses - Disclosure of prior convictions of accused - Criminal Justice (Evidence) Act, 1924 (No. 37 of 1924), s. 1, para. (f) - Identification of accused - Failure of witness to identify accused at identification parade - Accused identified by witness subsequently in Court - Jury properly charged.

Criminal law - Judge's charge to jury - Statement of judge's interpretation of evidence - Jury not instructed that they alone were competent to decide questions of fact.

Criminal Appeal.

The applicant, Denis G. H. Bond, was convicted on the 19th February, 1965, in the Central Criminal Court of stopping a mail on the 4th May, 1963, in the County of Dublin with intent to rob the mail, contrary to s. 12, sub-s. 4, of the Larceny Act, 1916. He was subsequently sentenced to four years' penal servitude and ordered to pay the sum of £200 towards the costs of the prosecution. His request for a certificate that the case was one fit for appeal was refused by the trial Judge (Murnaghan J.), and he applied to the Court of Criminal Appeal for leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence on the grounds, inter alia, 1, that the evidence of his identification by prosecution witnesses was inadmissible, 2, that the evidence of his previous convictions and the circumstances thereof had been allowed improperly, and 3, that his trial had been unsatisfactory. The Court of Criminal Appeal granted the applicant's application and, treating the hearing of the application as the hearing of the appeal, allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial. The facts have been summarised in the head-note and are stated fully in the judgment of the Court, post.

The applicant was tried in the Central Criminal Court before a judge and jury and was convicted of stopping a mail on the 4th February, 1965, in the County of Dublin with intent to rob the mail, contrary to s. 12, sub-s. 4, of the Larceny Act, 1916. Three of the witnesses for the prosecution had failed to identify the applicant at an identification parade, but they identified him subsequently in Court. The trial judge's charge to the jury contained a strong warning of the danger of acting on such evidence of identification. While the applicant was being first cross-examined by counsel for the prosecution, the applicant was asked when, and under what circumstances, he had first met J. B., who was alleged by the prosecution to have been a leading figure in the crime with which the applicant was charged; the applicant replied that he had met J. B. in England in the year 1956 or 1957. The applicant's defence was based upon an alibi, but it involved imputations on the character of certain witnesses for the prosecution. After the case for the prosecution had been closed and the applicant and another witness for the defence had given their evidence and had left the witness box, counsel for the prosecution, in the absence of the jury, sought and was given leave to cross-examine the applicant about his previous convictions. The trial judge directed the applicant to return to the witness-box and it was then established, on such further cross-examination and in the presence of the jury, that the applicant had been convicted of several offences including, in particular, convictions at Birmingham Assizes on the 13th December, 1956, of two offences, namely, conspiracy to rob and robbery with violence, both relating to a robbery from a motor van carrying money for the payment of wages. During such further cross-examination it was also put to the applicant, and he agreed, that J. B. had been convicted of the said two offences on the same occasion. The trial judge's charge to the jury did not contain any direction upon the purpose for which the applicant's further evidence had been allowed. The said charge also contained an expression of the trial judge's interpretation of certain evidence, but it did not draw the jury's attention to the fact that they alone were competent to decide questions of fact.

The trial judge refused the applicant's request for a certificate that the case was one fit for appeal and the applicant applied to the Court of Criminal Appeal for leave to appeal, which application was granted and treated as the hearing of the appeal.

Held by the Court of Criminal Appeal (Haugh, McLoughlin and Henchy JJ.):—

1, That the evidence of identification of the applicant was admissible at the discretion of the trial judge, and that he had instructed the jury correctly and fully as to the danger of acting upon such evidence;

2, That the trial was unsatisfactory by reason of the failure of the trial judge to explain to the jury the purpose for which the evidence relating to the applicant's previous convictions had been allowed, and of the failure to instruct the jury that they alone were competent to decide questions of fact;

3. That the applicant's conviction should be quashed and a new trial directed.

Cur. adv. vult.

The judgment of the Court was delivered by Haugh J.

Haugh J. :—

18 June

The applicant, Denis Bond, on the 19th February last at the Central Criminal Court, Green Street, was convicted of having stopped a Post Office meter van, No. XRI 383, with intent to rob the mail therefrom.

He had previously been tried on the same charge but the jury failed to agree.

It is against the conviction and sentence that followed

this second trial he now seeks leave to appeal. The grounds of appeal are ten in number—some of these were not opened to this Court, and this Court will confine itself to a consideration of grounds 2(1) and grounds four and nine.

Ground 2(1) is as follows:—"Admission by the learned trial Judge of evidence which was inadmissible, e.g., evidence of identification of the accused by Mr. McCormack (the van driver), Mrs. McCabe and Miss Drea." These three witnesses for the State attended at a properly conducted identification parade, and each in turn inspected a number of men, among whom the applicant was present. Each witness, in turn, failed to identify Bond as a person they had previously seen. All three purported to identify Bond at a later occasion, and in different circumstances. Their evidence purporting to identify Bond was of importance to the State for these reasons. The robbery of the mail van took place close to Dublin airport, shortly after midnight on Friday, the 3rd May, 1963. Much of the evidence was directed to show that on the previous Thursday both Smith and Bond, on that evening and night, were seen driving a red Mini Austin car in the vicinity of the airport, the clear suggestion being that on that day they were planning and preparing the robbery that was to take place on the following Friday night; that they were paying particular attention to the mail van being driven by McCormack, which they followed from the airport to the traffic lights at Whitehall, Drumcondra. McCormack swore that it was while stopped at these lights that the red car pulled up alongside his van, and that he then recognised Bond sitting in the red car as a passenger.

This Court is of the opinion that this evidence of identification, weakened as it was by the failure of these three witnesses to identify Bond on the identification parade, was in the Judge's discretion nevertheless admissible. However, in allowing such evidence to reach a jury the...

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4 cases
  • Leggate v HM Advocate
    • United Kingdom
    • High Court of Justiciary
    • 8 July 1988
    ...[1944] K.B. 463; R. v. JenkinsUNK (1945) 31 Cr. App. R. 1; R. v. LevyUNK (1966) 50 Cr. App. R. 238; The People (Att.-Gen.) v. BondIR [1966] I.R. 214;Cornwallis v. H.M. Advocate (1902) 3 Adam 604;O'Neill v. TudhopeUNK 1984 S.C.C.R. 276; Johnston v. AllanUNK 1983 S.C.C.R. 500; R. v. Britzman ......
  • Minister for Justice and Equality v Jason Patrick Buckley
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 28 May 2014
    ...IEHC 320 CRIMINAL JUSTICE (EVIDENCE) ACT 1924 S1 CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 2010 S33 DPP v FERRIS 2008 1 IR 1 2002/9/2061 AG, PEOPLE v BOND 1966 IR 214 NOTTINGHAMSHIRE CO COUNCIL v B (K) & B (K) 2012 2 ILRM 170 2013/40/11598 2011 IESC 48 EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT ACT 2003 S16(1) Criminal Law ......
  • DPP v Ferris
    • Ireland
    • Court of Criminal Appeal
    • 10 June 2002
    ...Public ProsecutionsELRUNK [1935] 1 A.C. 309; [1934] All E.R. 168; (1934) 24 Ca. App. Rep. 152. The People (Attorney General) v. BondIR [1966] I.R. 214. The People (Director of Public Prosecutions) v. J.E.M.IR [2001] 4 I.R. 385. The People (Director of Public Prosecutions) v. McGrailIR [1990......
  • DPP v Ferris
    • Ireland
    • Court of Criminal Appeal
    • 10 June 2002
    ...ACT 1924 S1(f)(ii) CRIMINAL JUSTICE (EVIDENCE) ACT 1924 S1(f)(iii) R v ROWTON 10 COX CC 25 R v BUTTERWASSER 1948 1 KB 4 AG, PEOPLE v BOND 1966 IR 214 CRIMINAL LAW (RAPE) (AMDT) ACT 1990 S7 CRIMINAL LAW (RAPE) (AMDT) ACT 1990 S7(1) DPP v M (J E) (AKA M (S)) UNREP DENHAM 1.2.2000 2000/8/3053......
1 books & journal articles
  • Hearsay, Bad Character and Trust in the Jury: Irish and English Contrasts
    • United Kingdom
    • International Journal of Evidence & Proof, The Nbr. 17-3, July 2013
    • 1 July 2013
    ...original.6 Section 1(f) of the Criminal Justice (Evidence) Act 1924 contains the Irish law on this point.7 See, e.g., People (AG) vBond [1966] IR 214.8 The leading case is People (AG) vO’Brien [1965] IR 142. For a discussion of the rationale underpinning theO’Brien rule of exclusion, see Y.......

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