State (Stanbridge) v Mahon

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr. Justice Gannon
Judgment Date01 January 1979
Neutral Citation1978 WJSC-HC 2100
Docket Number[1977 No. 507 S.S.],No. 507 S.S/1977
Date01 January 1979

1978 WJSC-HC 2100

THE HIGH COURT

No. 507 S.S/1977
No. 508 S.S/1977
State (STANBRIDGE) v. MAHON
STATE SIDE
IN THE MATTER OF THE COURTS OF JUSTICE ACTS
AND IN THE MATTER OF THE COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL
PROVISIONS) ACT
THE STATE AT THE PROSECUTION OF AUSTIN STANBRIDGE
.v.
DISTRICT JUSTICE SEAMUS N. MAHON

and

IN THE MATTER OF THE COURTS OF JUSTICE ACTS
AND IN THE MATTER OF THE COURTS (SUPPLEMENTAL
PROVISIONS) ACT
THE STATE AT THE PROSECUTION OF THOMAS MURPHY
.v.
DISTRICT JUSTICE SEAMUS N. MAHON
1

Judgment of Mr. Justice Gannondelivered the 6th day of June 1978

2

Both prosecutors appeared at Mountmellick District Court on the 26th October 1977 on charges relating to the breaking and entering of a chemist's shop in Mountmellick on the 18th September 1977. To each of the three charges upon which they had been brought before the Court each prosecutor pleaded guilty. Bothwere represented by the same solicitor whose submissions on their behalf were considered by the District Justice before passing sentence. After hearing submissions of the solicitor the District Justice was informed by Superintendent McLoughlin of the Garda Siochana before sentence was passed that each of the prosecutors had had previous convictions, and he read to the District Justice from documents which appeared to consist of copies of Garda Siochana records of that nature. On each of the prosecutors the sentences passed by the District Justice were 12 months imprisonment on the first charge and concurrent therewith sentences of 6 months on each of the other two charges.

3

On the 14th November 1977 the prosecutor, Thomas Murphy, obtained from Mr. Justice McMahon in the High Court a conditional order of certiorari directing the District Justice to send the orders made on the 26th October 1977 forward to be quashed on the grounds that alleged previous convictions considered by the District Justice had not properly been proved, and that the District Justice was referred to alleged sentences which did not relate to the prosecutor, and that prejudicial information was proffered. On the same date the prosecutor Austin Stanbridge obtained a similar conditional order of certiorari onsimilargrounds other than the reference to prejudicial information. On behalf of the respondent showing cause in each case affidavits of Superintendent McLoughlin were filed in each case deposing to the facts, inter alia, that he read out to the District Justice particulars of previous convictions from a photostat copy of the Garda Criminal History Sheet referable to each of the prosecutors after the solicitor had addressed the District Justice on behalf of the prosecutors, and that neither prosecutor nor their solicitor raised any objection or required him to be examined under oath.

4

Both prosecutors now come before this Court asking to have the conditional orders made absolute notwithstanding cause shown, and by consent, as a matter of convenience, both applications are being taken and considered together. In addition to the contents of the grounding affidavits I have had the assistance of the oral evidence of each of the prosecutors who were required by the respondent to attend Court for the purpose of submitting to cross-examination pursuant to notices in that behalf served. Apart from the question of detail as to whether certain alleged previous convictions had been imposed on the prosecutors there was no significant conflict in the evidence on affidavit. Each of the prosecutors in oral evidence stated that when the list ofalleged previous convictions was being read out he drew his solicitor's attention to ones which he claims did not relate to him, but his solicitor did not interrupt the Superintendent reading them nor so inform the District Justice before sentence was passed. Each prosecutor through his solicitor then informed the District Justice after sentence of his intention to appeal, entered into the recognisance to pursue his appeal, and has lodged his appeal in the Circuit Court at Portlaoise where it is pending for hearing at the next sitting of that Court.

5

On behalf of each of the prosecutors Mr. Adrian Hardiman submitted that as neither the prosecutor nor his solicitor was aware of the intention to offer to the District Justice information about previous convictions or of the nature or content of such information the information given should have been proved in a regular manner and an opportunity given of considering and challenging such evidence. He argued that previous convictions are matters of public record and an extract or quotation from Garda records is not a document of evidential character acceptable as proof and, as given, constituted at best hear-say evidence by an unsworn witness. He pointed out that the alleged convictions were imposed in the District Court and should have been proved byproduction of copies orders in accordance with District Court Rules r.m. 84 and 85 District Court Rules 1948 (S.R. and 0.431 of 1947) as amended by substitution by District Court Rules 1955 (S.I. Number 83 of 1955). He further submitted that the failure of the prosecutor or of his solicitor to make known his objection at the time to the District Court is not a ground which will support the exercise by this Court of its discretion to refuse an order of...

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11 cases
  • Tracey v O'Donnell and the DPP
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 30 April 2020
    ...entitled to an acquittal. There was an adequate alternative remedy available to the appellant (see, The State (Stanbridge) v. Mahon [1979] 1 I.R. 214; The State (Glover) v. McCarthy [1981] I.L.R.M. 47; The State (Pheasantry Limited) v. Donnelly [1982] I.L.R.M. 512; Aprile v. Naas UDC (Unrep......
  • Enright v Ireland
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 18 December 2002
    ...UK 1999 28 EHRR 209 SEX OFFENDERS ACT 1997 (UK) WELCH V UK 1995 20 EHRR 247 DPP V CAWLEY UNREP HERBERT 14.6.2002 STANBRIDGE, STATE V MAHON 1979 IR 214 CRIMINAL LAW (JURISDICTION) BILL 1975, RE 1977 IR 129 TUOHY V COURTNEY 1994 3 IR 1 STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS 1957 S11 HEANEY V IRELAND 1994 ......
  • DPP v WC
    • Ireland
    • Court of Criminal Appeal
    • 1 January 1994
    ...V MCDONNELL (1974) 418 US 539 AG, PEOPLE V O'DRISCOLL 1972 1 FREWEN 351 AG, PEOPLE V POYNING 1972 IR 402 STANBRIDGE, STATE V MCMAHON 1979 IR 214 CRIMINAL LAW (RAPE) ACT 1981 CRIMINAL LAW (RAPE)(AMDT) ACT 1990 R V MCDONALD & ORS 1989 NI 37 DPP V TIERNAN 1988 IR 250 CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1......
  • DPP v McDonnell
    • Ireland
    • Court of Criminal Appeal
    • 3 March 2009
    ...28.2.2000 2001/15/4261 R v CAMPBELL (DOUGLAS) 1911 5 CAR 131 R v MARQUIS (WILLIAM JOHN LINSEY) 1951 35 CAR 33 STANBRIDGE, STATE v MAHON 1979 IR 214 RYAN & MAGEE THE IRISH CRIMINAL PROCESS 1983 393-4 AG, PEOPLE v RIORDAN 1948 IR 416 LAW REFORM CMSN CONSULTATION PAPER ON SENTENCING 1993 PAR......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • An analysis of sentencing provisions in the criminal justice act, 2006
    • Ireland
    • Irish Judicial Studies Journal Nbr. 1-7, January 2007
    • 1 January 2007
    ..._____________________________________________________ 69[1988] I.L.R.M. 370. 70 [1966] I.R. 501. 71 [1966] I.R. 501, 516–517. 72 [1979] I.R. 214. Judicial Studies Institute Journal [2007:1 82 The first consideration in determining the sentence is the public interest, which is served not mer......
  • Consistency in sentencing
    • Ireland
    • Irish Judicial Studies Journal Nbr. 2-10, July 2010
    • 1 July 2010
    ...examples are illustrative: _____________________________________________________ 18See, for example, The State (Stanbridge) v. Mahon [1979] I.R. 214, at 216, and The People (Attorney General) v. O’Driscoll [1972] 1 Frewen 35 at 359. 19Law Reform Commission, Consultation Paper on Sentencing ......

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