State (Craven) v Frawley

JurisdictionIreland
Judgment Date01 January 1980
Date01 January 1980
Docket Number[1978 No. 687 SS.]
CourtHigh Court
The State (Craven) v. Frawley
The State (at the Prosecution of David Craven)
and
John Frawley and The Minister for Justice
[1978 No. 687 SS.]

High Court

Constitution - Statute - Validity - Power of Minister of State - Detention of youthful offender in institution - Balance of term of detention commuted by Minister to term of imprisonment - Whether enactment inconsistent with provisions of Constitution - Prevention of Crime Act, 1908 (8 Edw. 7, c. 59), s. 7 - Constitution of Ireland, 1937, Articles 34, 38, 50.

Section 7 of the Act of 1908 provides that where a youthful offender, being detained in St. Patrick's Institution, is reported to the Minister for Justice by the visiting committee of that institution to be incorrigible, or to be exercising a bad influence on the other persons detained there, the Minister "may commute the unexpired residue of the term of detention to such term of imprisonment, with or without hard labour, as the Minister for Justice may determine, but in no case exceeding such unexpired residue."

The prosecutor, a youthful offender, was serving a sentence of six months detention in St. Patrick's Institution when the visiting committee of that institution made a report to the Minister for Justice stating that the prosecutor was exercising a bad influence on the other persons so detained. The Minister made an order pursuant to s. 7 of the Act of 1908 commuting the balance of the prosecutor's term of detention to a term of imprisonment without hard labour. The Minister directed that the prosecutor be committed to, and detained in, Mountjoy Prison until the expiration of such term of imprisonment. Having obtained a conditional order of certiorari to quash the Minister's order (unless cause were shown to the contrary), the prosecutor applied to the High Court for an order absolute, notwithstanding the cause shown by the respondent governor of the said prison.

Held by Gannon J., in allowing the cause shown and discharging the conditional order, 1, that the terms of s. 7 of the Act of 1908 (apart from the words "with or" therein) were not inconsistent with the provisions of s. 34, s. 1, of the Constitution which require justice to be administered in courts established by law by judges appointed in the manner provided by the Constitution, or with the provisions of Article 38, s. 1, of the Constitution which prohibit any person being tried on a criminal charge save in due course of law.

The State (Sheerin) v. Kennedy [1966] I.R. 379 applied.The State (White) v. Martin(1976) 111 I.L.T.R. 21 considered.

2. That, accordingly, apart from the words "with or" the terms of s. 7 of the Act of 1908 (as adapted) continued in force pursuant to Article 50, s. 1, of the Constitution after the date when the Constitution came into operation.

Cases mentioned in this report:—

1 The State (Sheerin) v. Kennedy [1966] I.R. 379.

2 The State (White) v. Martin (1976) 111 I.L.T.R. 21.

3 The State (Dickenson) v. Kelly [1964] I.R. 73.

4 The State (Holden) v. Governor of Portlaoise Prison [1964] I.R. 80.

5 The State (C.) v. The Minister for Justice [1967] I.R. 106.

6 The State (O.) v. O'Brien [1973] I.R. 50.

7 The State (Murray) v. McRann [1979] I.R. 133.

8 The People (Attorney General) v. Boylan [1963] I.R. 238.

9 Deaton v. The Attorney General [1963] I.R. 170.

Certiorari.

The facts have been summarised in the head-note and they appear in the judgment of Gannon J., infra. On the 19th December, 1978, D'Arcy J. made an order pursuant to Article 40, s. 4, sub-s. 2, of the Constitution directing the first respondent (the governor of Mountjoy Prison) to certify in writing the grounds of the prosecutor's detention in that prison; and on the same day the judge made a conditional order of certiorari to quash, unless cause were shown to the contrary, an order made by the second respondent on the 3rd November, 1978, commuting to a term of imprisonment in Mountjoy Prison the balance of a term of six months detention in St. Patrick's Institution imposed on the prosecutor by an order of the District Court dated the 14th September, 1978. The respondents showed cause by exhibiting the warrant of the District Court, a report of the visiting committee of St. Patrick's Institution, and the order of the second respondent.

Section 1 of Article 34 of the Constitution of Ireland, 1937, states:—"Justice shall be administered in courts established by law by judges appointed in the manner provided by this Constitution, and, save in such special and limited cases as may be prescribed by law, shall be administered in public." Section 1 of...

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