State (Turley) v O Floinn

Judgment Date28 July 1968
Date28 July 1968
Docket Number[1967. No. 32 SS.]
CourtSupreme Court
The State (Turley) v. Ó Floinn
THE STATE (At the Prosecution of JOSEPH P. TURLEY)
[1967. No. 32 SS.]

Supreme Court.

Criminal Law - Evidence - Case stated - Whether evidence sufficient to support conviction - Question of law - Whether request for Case was frivolous - Mandamus - Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1857 (20 & 21 Vict. c. 43), ss. 2, 4, 5 - Public Dance Halls Act, 1935 (No. 2 of 1935), s. 10.

At the hearing in the District Court of a complaint that he had committed a statutory offence the prosecutor, who was the defendant named in the complaint, submitted that the evidence adduced was not sufficient to justify a conviction. After he had been convicted he requested the District Justice, pursuant to s. 2 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1857, to state a Case for the opinion of the High Court upon the point of law which the prosecutor contended was contained in his submission. The District Justice refused the request on the grounds that his determination of the complaint was based solely upon findings of fact and the Act of 1857 did not allow a Case to be stated in those circumstances, and that the prosecutor's request was frivolous. The prosecutor applied for and obtained, pursuant to s. 5 of the Act of 1857, a conditional order of mandamus requiring the District Justice to state the Case sought by the prosecutor. At the hearing of the prosecutor's motion for an order absolute, notwithstanding the cause shown by the respondents, it was

Held by O'Keeffe P., 1, that, although the District Justice had formed the opinion that the prosecutor's request was frivolous, it was open to the High Court to consider whether or not the procedure under s. 5 of the Act of 1857 was warranted.

2. That the evidence, adduced at the hearing of the complaint, raised difficult questions of law and that an absolute order of mandamus should issue.

On appeal by the respondents it was

Held by the Supreme Court ( Ó Dálaigh ó dálaigh C.J., Haugh, Walsh, Budd and FitzGerald JJ.), in dismissing the appeal, that the determination of the problem of whether there is, or is not, sufficient evidence to warrant a conviction is a determination of a question of law.


Sect. 10 of the Public Dance Halls Act, 1935, provides:—

"(1). No place, whether licensed or not licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor, shall be used for public dancing unless a public dancing licence granted under this Act is in force in respect of such place.

(2). If any place is used for public dancing in contravention of this section, the occupier of such place shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding ten pounds for every day or part of a day on or during which such place is so used."

Sect. 2 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1857, as amended by s. 51 of the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act, 1961, enables a party to proceedings heard and determined by a District Justice (other than proceedings relating to an indictable offence which was not dealt with summarily), if dissatisfied with the determination "as being erroneous on a point of law," to apply in writing within 14 days after such determination to the District Justice requesting him to state and sign a Case, setting forth the facts and the grounds of such determination, for the opinion thereon of the High Court. Sect. 4 of the Act of 1857 enacts that:—"If the Justice . . . be of opinion that the application is merely frivolous, but not otherwise, he . . . may refuse to state a Case, and shall, on the request of the appellant, sign and deliver to him a certificate of such refusal . . ."

On the 2nd January, 1967, the prosecutor was convicted of an offence under s. 10 of the Act of 1935 by the...

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11 cases
  • Fitzgerald v DPP
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 25 July 2003
    ...1857 S14 BRACEGIRDLE V OXLEY 1947 1 AER 126 CREEDON, STATE V CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATIONS TRIBUNAL 1988 IR 51 TYRLEY, STATE V O;FLOINN 1968 IR 245 ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1994 S20 Synopsis: PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE Case stated Constitution - Power to refuse to state case - Limitations on power ......
  • DPP (Breen) v Valentine
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 25 June 2007 conviction question of fact or law - DPP v Nangle [1984] ILRM 171; Fitzgerald v DPP [2003] 3 IR 247 and State v Judge Ó Floinn [1968] 1 IR 245 applied; People (AG) v Harris (1957) 91 ILTR 34; People v. Cullen (1947) 81 ILTR 45; R v Langton 2 QB 296; AG v Smith [1947] IR 332 consid......
  • DPP v Pires, DPP v Corrigan, DPP v Gannon
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 23 October 2018
    ...submissions referred to a number of the authorities relied on by the Appellants including DPP v. Nangle, The State (Turley) v. O'Floinn [1968] I.R. 245 and Fitzgerald v. DPP referred to previously. It was pointed out that this was a case in which no ruling was made on the merits of the case......
  • DPP v Dardis
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 11 December 2015
    ...the judge decided. The judge did make findings of fact, but the questions arise from his conclusion and inference of law. 23 In The State (Turley) v. O'Flóinn [1968] I.R. 245, the Supreme Court held ( per O'Dálaigh C.J.) that ‘the question whether there is sufficient evidence in law to supp......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • In the Irish Courts
    • United Kingdom
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The No. 35-1, January 1971
    • 1 January 1971
    ...erroneous on a pointoflaw".TheJusticemayrefuse to do so onlyifof opinionthatthe application is"merely frivolous".InThe State v. O'Floinn (1968,I.R.245),thedefendant wasconvictedofusing a place for public dancing without a licence,contrary to the Public Dance Halls Act, 1935. At the hearing,......

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