Sloan v The Special Criminal Court

Judgment Date01 January 1993
Date01 January 1993
Docket Number[1989 No. 149 J.R.]
CourtHigh Court
Special Criminal Court

Interference -Separation of powers - Statute providing that Government decision as to unlawfulness of organisation to be "conclusive evidence" of such unlawfulness - Whether impermissible interference by legislature in judicial domain -Offences Against the State Act, 1939 (No. 13), s.19 (4). Trial of offences - Whether person accused of indictable offence having constitutional right to preliminary examination in District Court. Criminal law - Procedure - Preliminary investigation of indictable offence by District Court - Legislation providing for accused person to be charged before Special Criminal Court in certain circumstances -Whether repeal of such provisions to be implied from provisions of subsequent legislation -Offences Against the State Act, 1939 (No. 13), s.30, sub-s. 4 and s. 47 - Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act, 1976 (No. 14), ss. 14 and 20.

Section 18 of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939, declares any organisation which meets certain criteria therein set out to be an unlawful organisation. Section 19 of the Act of 1939 empowers the Government to issue a "suppression order" in respect of any organisation which it is of opinion is an unlawful organisation. Section 20 of the Act of 1939 provides that any person claiming to be a member of an organisation the subject of a suppression order may apply to the High Court for a declaration that the organisation is not an unlawful one. By virtue of s. 19, sub-s. 4 of the Act of 1939, a suppression order "shall be conclusive evidence for all purposes" other than an application under s. 20 "that the organisation to which it relates is an unlawful one within the meaning of this Act." By virtue of s. 21 of the Act of 1939, it is an offence to be a member of an unlawful organisation, and by virtue of s. 30, sub-s. 1, a garda may arrest without warrant a person whom he suspects of committing or having committed such an offence. By virtue of s. 47 of the Act of 1939, as amended, an accused person may be charged before a Special Criminal Court rather than the District Court in certain circumstances; and by virtue of s. 30, sub-s. 4 a person arrested under s. 30, sub-s. 1 and detained pursuant to s. 30, sub-s. 3, may be charged before the District Court or a Special Criminal Court. Sections 2 and 3 of the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act, 1976, create offences relating to acts done in Northern Ireland. Section 14, sub-s. 1 of the Act of 1976 provides that a...

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