State (Boyle) v Nolan

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court
JudgeWalsh J.
Judgment Date01 Jan 1987
Neutral Citation1986 WJSC-SC 80
Docket Number[S.C. No. 307 of 1985],(307/85)

1986 WJSC-SC 80

THE SUPREME COURT

Finlay C.J.

Walsh J.

Griffin J.

Hederman J.

McCarthy J.

(307/85)
BOYLE v. NEYLON
THE STATE (AT THE PROSECUTION OF MICHAEL BOYLE)
Prosecutor/Appellant
v.
HIS HONOUR JUDGE NEYLON, HIS HONOUR JUDGE ROE, THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS AND THE GOVERNOR OF MOUNTJOY PRISON
Respondents

Citations:

COURTS ACT 1981 S31(1)

CONSTITUTION ART 34.3.4

CONSTITUTION ART 34.2

CONSTITUTION ART 34.3.1

COURTS (ESTABLISHMENT & CONSTITUTION) ACT 1961 S4(1)

BROWNE, STATE V FERAN 1967 IR 147

AG, PEOPLE V CONMEY 1975 IR 341

CONSTITUTION ART 34

COURTS (ESTABLISHMENT & CONSTITUTION) ACT 1961 S5

COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1961 S25

TREASON ACT 1939

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S6

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S7

CONSTITUTION ART 36

OFFENCES AGAINST THE STATE ACT 1939 S8

HOSIE V LAWLESS 1927 IR 464

GRIMES & ORS V OWNERS OF SS BANGOR BAY 1948 IR 350

COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1961 S25(3)

COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1961 S25(1)

COURTS OF JUSTICE ACT 1924 S52

CONSTITUTION SAORSTAT EIREANN ART 64

LYNCH V LIMERICK CO COUNCIL 1925 IR 61

SLIGO CORPORATION V GILBRIDE 1929 IR 351

GALLEN V LEE 1936 IR 142

COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS) ACT 1961 S26(1)

COURTS ACT 1981 S31

Synopsis:

CIRCUIT COURT

Jurisdiction

Trial - Venue - Transfer - Single court administering justice in distinct local areas - Court of local and limited jurisdiction - Judge exercising jurisdiction in local branch of court empowered by s.31 of Act of 1981 to transfer trial of accused to branch of court in Dublin - Held that s.31 of Act of 1981 is valid having regard to the provisions of the Constitution - Conviction of accused in Dublin branch of court upheld - Decision of Gannon J. (11/10/85) affirmed - Equality before the law - Courts (Establishment & Constitution) Act, 1961, ss.4, 5 - Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act, 1961, s.25 - Courts Act, 1981, s.31 - Constitution of Ireland, 1937, Articles 34, 36 - (307/85 - Supreme Court - 12/12/86) - [1986] IR 551 - [1987] ILRM 535

|The State (Boyle) v. Neylon|

CONSTITUTION

Courts

Trial of offences - Venue - Transfer - Jurisdiction of Circuit Court - Single court administering justice in distinct local areas - Court of local and limited jurisdiction - Judge exercising jurisdiction in local branch of court empowered by s.31 of Act of 1981 to transfer trial of accused to branch of court in Dublin - Held that enactment valid having regard to the provisions of the Constitution - Conviction of accused in Dublin branch of court upheld - Decision of Gannon J. (11/10/85) affirmed - Equality before the law - Courts (Establishment & Constitution) Act, 1961, ss.4, 5 - Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act, 1961, s.25 - Courts Act, 1981, s.31 - Articles 34, 36 - (307/85 - Supreme Court - 12/12/86) - [1986] IR 551 - [1987] ILRM 535

|The State (Boyle) v. Neylon|

CRIMINAL LAW

Trial

Venue - Transfer - Jurisdiction of Circuit Court - Single court administering justice in distinct local court areas - Court of local and limited jurisdiction - Judge exercising jurisdiction in local branch of court empowered by s.31 of Act of 1981 to transfer trial of accused to branch of court in Dublin - Held that s.31 of Act of 1981 is valid having regard to the provisions of the Constitution - Conviction of accused in Dublin branch of court upheld - Decision of Gannon J. (11/10/85) affirmed - Equality before the law - Courts (Establishment & Constitution) Act, 1961, ss.4, 5 - Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act, 1961, s.25 - Courts Act, 1981, s.31 - Constitution of Ireland, 1937, Articles 34, 36 - (307/85 - Supreme Court - 12/12/86) - [1986] IR 551 - [1987] ILRM 535

|The State (Boyle) v. Neylon|

1

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT delivered pursuant to Article 34.4.5. of the Constitution on the 12th day of December 1986 by Walsh J.

2

In October 1983 the prosecutor committed certain very serious offences in the Country of Wicklow. These offences eventually attracted four concurrent sentences of imprisonment of 5 years, 10 years, 12 years and 5 years respectively. He had been arrested in Co. Wicklow and after the preliminary investigations carried out in the appropriate District Court area, he was returned for trial to the Circuit Court sitting in Wicklow, the jurisdiction of which was exercised by Judge Roe. On the 7th February 1984, the Director of Public Prosecutions applied to Judge Roe for a transfer of the trial of these offences to the Dublin Circuit Court, and the Judge made that order pursuant to the power as conferred on him by s. 31, subs. 1 of the Courts Act, 1981. The prosecutor was arraigned subsequently in the Dublin Circuit Court on the 23rd March 1984, when his trial was adjourned to the 2nd July 1984. The accused pleaded guilty to the various counts and received the sentences already referred to. The sentences were imposed by the presiding Judge, namely, the President of the Circuit Court, Mr. Justice Neylon. All sentences were imposed on the 9th July 1984. On June 30th 1986 the Court of Criminal Appeal refused the prosecutor's application for leave to appeal against two of these sentences. He had not made any application in respect of the other sentences.

3

The prosecutor now seeks to quash the sentences on the grounds that the Circuit Court sitting in Dublin had no jurisdiction to try the criminal case in which he stood accused. In support of that he seeks also in effect a declaration that s. 31(1)(a) of the Courts Act, 1981, is invalid having regard to the provisions of the Constitution.

4

While the Attorney General was not represented at the hearing in the High Court before Mr. Justice Gannon against whose decision this appeal was taken, the Attorney General was represented at the hearing of this appeal.

5

S. 31 of the Courts Act, 1981provides that where a person charged on an indictable offence is sent forward for trial to the Circuit Court sitting other than within the Dublin Circuit, an application by the prosecutor or by the accused to the Judge of the Circuit Court before whom he is triable to have his trial transferred to the Circuit Court sitting in Dublin may be made. Where the party making the application not less than 7 days before making it has notified the accused or the prosecutor as the case may be of the application, the Court must grant the application. In any other case the Circuit Judge has a discretion either to grant or refuse, and his decision on that point is final and unappealable. This section repealed and replaced an earlier statutory provision whereby persons sent forward for trial to the Circuit Court, no matter where it sat, could have their trial transferred to the Central Criminal Court. For the purpose of this case it is not necessary to discuss the details of the former practice and the former statutory provisions. The submission made on behalf of the prosecutor is that the Circuit Court is a court of local and limited jurisdiction within the provisions of Art. 34, s. 3, subs. 4 of the Constitution which reads as follows:

"The Courts of First Instance shall also include Courts of local and limited jurisdiction with a right of appeal as determined...

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