People (Attorney General) v Trayers

JurisdictionIreland
CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal
Judgment Date01 January 1956
Date01 January 1956

Court of Criminal Appeal.

The People (Attorney General) v. Trayers
THE PEOPLE (at the suit of the ATTORNEY GENERAL)
and
JOHN TRAYERS (1)

Criminal law - Carnal knowledge of girl between fifteen and seventeen years - Evidence of prosecutrix - Absence of corroboration - Judge's charge - Jury directed that it was unsafe to convict on girl's uncorroborated evidence - Reference in charge to evidence which might "go a long way towards corroboration" - Whether such direction nullified by such reference - Whether such direction coupled with such reference a misdirection - Comments of trial Judge in charge on failure of accused to give evidence on oath - Extent to which trial Judge may so comment - Whether any duty on trial Judge so to comment.

Criminal Appeal.

Application for leave to appeal against conviction and sentence. The applicant, John Trayers, was on the 5th and 6th October, 1954, tried in the Circuit Court at Galway and was convicted on two counts of having carnal knowledge of Philomena Mary Devereux, a girl between fifteen and seventeen years of age, contrary to s. 2, sub-s. 1, of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1935. He was sentenced by the trial Judge (Judge Durcan) to twelve months' imprisonment with hard labour on each count, the Sentences to run concurrently.

The trial Judge refused to grant the applicant a certificate that the case was a fit one for an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal, and the applicant applied to the Court of Criminal Appeal for leave to appeal. The application was made on the grounds, inter alia:—

1. That the learned trial Judge did not give a proper or adequate warning to the jury of the danger of convicting the defendant in the absence of corroboration of the evidence of the prosecution.

2. That the learned trial Judge did not adequately explain to the jury the nature and extent of the corroborative evidence required in cases under the Criminal Law Amendment Act.

3. That the learned trial Judge's comments on the fact that the defendant did not give evidence were unfair and should not have been made.

4. That the learned trial Judge misdirected the jury in stating or suggesting in the course of his charge, inter alia,(a) that they must take into account the fact that the defendant had not given evidence, and (b) that the defendant had not at any time during the course of the trial availed of an opportunity to deny the charges made against him.

The portions of the trial Judge's charge to which objection was mainly taken on behalf of the applicant were as follows:—

"The defending counsel in this case laid great stress on the fact, as he alleged, that this man on every occasion denied these charges, denied them completely. It is true he denied them when he made his statement. But remember that although he had the opportunity he has not gone into the witness box and given evidence on oath which would be a very telling fact for you as a jury. It is only right to say that there is no obligation on an accused person to go into the witness box and he is quite at liberty to do as this man has done. You may...

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  • DPP v Murray
    • Ireland
    • Court of Criminal Appeal
    • 16 May 2001
    ...OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS V MARTIN MURRAY Applicant Citations: MISUSE OF DRUGS REGS 1998 ART 4(1)(b) MISUSE OF DRUGS 1977 S5 PEOPLE V TRAYERS 1956 IR 110 Synopsis: EVIDENCE Appeal Circuit Court - Fair procedures - Drugs offences - Heroin -Whether trial judge correctly charged jury with regard......
  • DPP v Kinsella
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 23 October 2018
    ...evidence capable of providing corroboration." The nature of corroborative evidence was described succinctly by Maguire J. in The People (Attorney General) v. Trayers [1956] IR 110 at 114: "In this connection, the judge had explained to the jury what is meant by corroboration, namely, "inde......
  • DPP v Lindsey
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    ...LAW (RAPE) (AMDT) ACT 1990 S7(2) AG V CRADDEN 1955 IR 130 AG V WILLIAMS 1940 IR 195 R V BASKERVILLE 1916 2 KB 658 PEOPLE, AG V TRAVERS 1956 IR 110 AG V MOORE 1950 IR JUR REP 45 Abstract: Criminal law - Corroboration - Appeal against conviction - Failure to warn jury in absence of corrob......
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