Pringle v Ireland

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr Justice Diarmuid B. O'Donovan
Judgment Date01 January 2000
Neutral Citation[1999] IEHC 185
Docket Number[1995 No. 9551P]
CourtHigh Court
Date01 January 2000
PRINGLE v. IRELAND & AG

BETWEEN

PETER PRINGLE
PLAINTIFF

AND

IRELAND AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
DEFENDANTS

[1999] IEHC 185

No. 9551P/1995

THE HIGH COURT

Synopsis

Constitutional Law

Bar to proceedings; preliminary issue; plaintiff convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death; sentence commuted to 40 years" penal servitude; plaintiff spent fourteen years and ten months in prison; plaintiff applied to Court of Criminal Appeal pursuant to s. 2, Criminal Procedure Act, 1993; Court of Criminal Appeal held plaintiff had established a newly discovered fact that rendered his conviction unsafe and unsatisfactory, quashed the conviction and directed a new trial; Director of Public Prosecutions entered a nolle prosequi; plaintiff applied to Court of Criminal Appeal pursuant to s. 9, Criminal Procedure Act, 1993 for a certificate that there had been a miscarriage of justice in his case; Court of Criminal Appeal refused to grant the certificate but certified that its decision involved a point of law of exceptional public importance and that it was desirable in the public interest that an appeal should be taken to the Supreme Court on the question whether the Court of Criminal Appeal had been correct to refuse the certificate sought; Supreme Court answered that question in the affirmative but referred the matter back to the Court of Criminal Appeal to allow plaintiff to renew his application; plaintiff instituted present proceedings seeking damages for negligence, breach of duty and failure to vindicate his constitutional rights; whether plaintiff's application under s. 9 Criminal Procedure Act, 1993 debarred him from maintaining the present proceedings.

Held: It is a prerequisite for the exercise of the option provided for in s. 9(2), Criminal Procedure Act, 1993 that the applicant has obtained a certificate from the Court of Criminal Appeal that there has been a miscarriage of justice; as plaintiff has not obtained such a certificate and could not maintain an action under s. 9(2) he is therefore not debarred from maintaining the present proceedings. - [1999] 4 IR 10 - [2000] 2 ILRM 161

Pringle v. Ireland - High Court: O'Donovan J. - 13/07/1999

Citations:

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1964

LARCENY ACT 1916

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 1993 S9(2)

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 1993 S9

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 1993 S2

COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1924 S29

WORKMANS COMPENSATION ACT 1934 S60(1)

DEPUIS V HAULBOWLINE INDUSTRIES 1964 IR 341

MCCAULEY V MIN FOR POST 1966 IR 345

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT 1993 S9(1)

1

JUDGMENT of Mr Justice Diarmuid B. O'Donovandelivered on the 13th day of July 1999

2

The Plaintiff in this case, Peter Pringle, claims damages for negligence, breach of duty, (including breach of statutory duty) and failure to vindicate his constitutional rights arising out of his arrest on the 19th day of July 1980 by a member of the Garda Siochana and his subsequent detention, interrogation by members of the Garda Siochana and prosecution in respect of alleged offences of capital murder contrary to the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1964and robbery contrary to the provisions of the Larceny Act 1916 (as amended), in respect of which offences, on the 27th day of November 1980, the Plaintiff was convicted by the Special Criminal Court and sentenced to death and to fifteen years imprisonment respectively; the said death sentence being subsequently commuted by the President to one of forty years penal servitude following which the Plaintiff suffered fourteen years and ten months loss of liberty. In an amended defence delivered herein on the 25th day of May 1999, the Defendants plead( inter alia) that the Plaintiff has exercised the option conferred upon him by Section 9(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993by instituting an application forrelief pursuant to Section 9 of that Act and is thereby barred from proceeding with a claim for damages in these proceedings.

3

By Order of the High Court made herein on the 14th day of May 1999 it was ordered that, without further pleadings, a preliminary issue be tried without a jury wherein the questions at the trial of such issue shall be:

4

(a) Whether the Plaintiff by his conduct in submitting to the jurisdiction of the Court of Criminal Appeal in an application for a certificate pursuant to Section 9 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993has thereby exercised the option afforded to him by Section 9(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993and

5

(b) If the Plaintiff has exercised his option pursuant to Section 9(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993, is the Plaintiff thereby barred from seeking to assert his claim in these proceedings against the Defendants.

6

It was admitted or was established by evidence on Affidavits respectively sworn herein by Ms Grainne O'Mahony on the 8th day of March 1999 and by Mr Gregory F. O'Neill on the 19th day of April 1999 that the following are the relevant facts with regard to the trial of the said issue, namely:

7

1. That on the 27th day of November 1980 the Plaintiff was convicted by the Special Criminal Court of an offence of capital murder of one Garda Henry Byrne, contrary to the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1964and of an offence of robbery contrary to the provisions of the Larceny Act 1916 (as amended) in respect of which offences he was respectively sentenced to death and to fifteen years imprisonment.

8

2. That the Plaintiff sought leave to appeal from the said conviction but, by judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeal given on the 22nd day of May 1981, the said application was refused.

9

3. That the said sentence of death was subsequently commuted to one of forty years penal servitude in respect of which the Plaintiff suffered fourteen years and ten months loss of liberty.

10

4. That on the 29th day of December 1993, the Criminal Procedure Act 1993was enacted whereby provision was made (inter alia) for judicial review of certain convictions and sentences and for the payment of compensation by the State to or in respect of persons convicted as a result of a miscarriage of justice.

11

5. That, on the 20th day of June 1994, the Plaintiff made application to the Court of Criminal Appeal pursuant to the provisions of Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993wherein he asserted newly discovered facts showing that there had been a miscarriage of justice in relation to his said conviction..

12

6. That, in a judgment delivered on the 16th day of May 1995, the Court of Criminal Appeal found that the Plaintiff had established a newly discovered fact which rendered his conviction unsafe and unsatisfactory and, accordingly, the said conviction was quashed and a new trial directed.

13

7. That, on the 24th day of May 1995, the Director of Public Prosecutions entered a nolle prosequi in respect of the said charges then pending against the Plaintiff before the Special CriminalCourt.

14

8. That, on the 6th day of July 1995, the Plaintiff made application to the Court of Criminal Appeal pursuant to Section 9 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993for a certificate...

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2 cases
  • O'Callaghan v Ireland
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 6 Julio 2020
    ...Act of 1993. She also rejected the plaintiff's suggestion that there was support in the comments of O'Donovan J. in Pringle v. Ireland [1999] 4 IR 10 or in DPP v. Pringle (No.2) [1997] 2 IR 225 for the proposition that a claim for miscarriage of justice exists independently of the Act of 13......
  • O Callaghan v Ireland and the Attorney General
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 14 Marzo 2019
    ...wrongful conviction and/or a miscarriage of justice, he should be entitled to damages. The plaintiff relies on Pringle v. Ireland [1999] 4 IR 10 in this 18 The plaintiff submits that having regard to the factual background in his case, his wrongful conviction stemmed from a “grave defect wi......

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