People v Prunty

 
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1986 WJSC-CCA 568

COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEAL

McCarthy J.

D'Arcy J.

Egan J.

16/85
DPP v. PRUNTY
THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
v.
EUGENE PRUNTY

Citations:

AG V HURLEY & WOOLFSON 71 ILTR 31

AG V RUTTLEDGE 1978 IR 376 1 FREWEN 75

BANKERS” BOOKS EVIDENCE ACT 1879

COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1928 S5

COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1928 S5(1)

COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1928 S5(1)(a)

DPP, PEOPLE V CAMPBELL 2 FREWEN 125

MYERS V DPP 1964 2 AER 881

R V ROBERTSON 25 CAR 208

R V THOMPSON 1914 2 KB 105

Synopsis:

EVIDENCE

Identification

Voice - Hearsay - Tape recording of accused's telephone conversation - Accused's voice identified by witness who knew accused - Accused convicted on counts of false imprisonment and demanding money by menaces - Corroborative circumstantial evidence placing accused in vicinity of telephone from which relevant calls made - Proof of the tracing of relevant telephone calls based partly upon hearsay evidence - Prima facie ample other evidence to support convictions - Jury having heard accused's voice when he gave evidence - Refusal of court to dismiss appeal under s.5(1) of Act of 1928 on basis that no miscarriage of justice had actually occurred - Held that court would not invoke s.5 of Act of 1928 unless it was satisfied that the jury, in arriving at their verdicts, had not taken into consideration inadmissible evidence - Held that the court was not so satisfied and that, accordingly, the convictions should be set aside and a new trial ordered - Courts of Justice Act, 1928, s.5 - (16/85 - C.C.A. - 15/5/86) - [1986] ILRM 716

|The People (D.P.P.) v. Prunty|

McCARTHY J.
1

On the 10th August 1983, William Sommerville was taken by force from his home at Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and held for a period of approximately twenty four hours during which, following a series of telephone calls, a ransom for his release was deposited at a quarry near to his home and information was given as to where he might be found. Michael Boyle and Eugene Prunty, the applicant, were both charged with offences arising out of the incident; Michael Boyle pleaded guilty and has been duly sentenced; the applicant pleaded not guilty and was tried over a number of days by a jury in the Dublin Circuit Court before His Honour Judge Dominic Lynch. He was convicted of both offences charged in the indictment and was sentenced to ten years imprisonment.

2

The prosecution case took two forms, the identification of the applicant's voice as recorded on a tape made from a telephone call to the Sommerville home at 5 p.m. on the 11th August, in which call the caller gave directions as to the payment of the ransom money, and, further, evidence as to the continuous association of the applicant with Michael Boyle during the morning, afternoon and evening of the 11th August and his presence at or near the telephones from which five other calls were made to the Sommerville residence all related to the demand for and payment of ransom. These two methods of establishing guilt were both independent of and inter-dependent on each other. The Court accepts that the applicant could properly have been convicted on both counts of the indictment on the tape identification alone or on the circumstantial evidence from the association with Boyle at the several critical times.

It is contended on behalf of the applicant that
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