Sullivan v Robinson

CourtSupreme Court
Judgment Date27 November 1954
Date27 November 1954
Sullivan v. Robinson

Supreme Court.

Constitution of Ireland - Jurisdiction - Supreme Court - Appellate jurisdiction from "all decisions" of the High Court - Appeal by complainant from decision of High Court on case stated under s. 83 of Courts of Justice Act, 1924 - Leave to appeal not obtained from High Court - Whether jurisdiction to hear appeal - Constitution of Ireland, Articles 34 and 50 - Constitution of the Irish Free State (Sáorstat Eireann) Act, 1922 (No. 1 of 1922), Sch. I, Art. 64.

Criminal law - Evidence - Admissibility - Admission by conduct - Charge of driving mechanically propelled vehicle while drunk - Accused subjected to examination and tests by medical doctor - Affirmative proof required that such examination and tests undergone voluntarily - Whether evidence of result admissible in absence of such proof - Road traffic - Examination and tests carried out by police doctor - Whether doctor a person in authority - Whether doctor's evidence admissible in absence of caution given to accused - Extent of warning necessary - Adequacy of warning a question of fact.

The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to hear an appeal against a decision of the High Court on a case stated under the provisions of s. 83 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924, where leave to appeal has not been obtained from the High Court. As the provisions of Article 34, 4, 3 of the Constitution, whereby the Supreme Court shall with such exceptions and subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by law have appellate jurisdiction from all decisions of the High Court, relate to the Supreme Court and the High Court to be established under the Constitution, and as such Supreme Court and High Court had not been established, the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court remained, under Article 58 of the Constitution, the same as it had been before the coming into operation of the Constitution.

So held by the Supreme Court.

Minister for Industry and Commerce v. Healy [1941] I. R. 541 followed.

When a medical doctor, acting on behalf of the police, conducts an examination of, or carries out tests upon, a person accused of driving a motor car while drunk, the Court on the trial of the criminal charge should not admit evidence of the results of such examination or tests unless the prosecution affirmatively establishes to the satisfaction of the Court that any statement in the nature of a confession made by the accused was voluntarily made and that any test the result of which tends to incriminate him was voluntarily undergone.

So held by Davitt P.

Reid v. Nixon. Dumigan v. Brown 1948 J. C. 68 approved.

Case Stated by Frederick J. Mangan, one of the Justices assigned to the Dublin Metropolitan District pursuant to the provisions of s. 83 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924.

The Case Stated was as follows:—

"1. This was a complaint under s. 30 of the Road Traffic Act, 1933, by Michael Sullivan, an Inspector of An Garda Siochana (hereinafter called 'the complainant'), against Major Kanda Robinson (hereinafter called 'the defendant') for that 'you the defendant did, between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the 16th August, 1951, at Merrion Road, Dublin, a public place in the Dublin Metropolitan District, drive a mechanically propelled vehicle, to wit, motor car, registered number ZA. 7432, while drunk.'

2. After hearing evidence adduced by and on behalf of the complainant and the complainant in completion of his case tendering as witness a medical doctor who was sworn and gave certain evidence as hereinafter appears and the defendant objecting to the admission of further evidence of the witness on the grounds hereinafter appearing, I, the undersigned, being one of the Justices of the District Court assigned to the Dublin Metropolitan District and sitting as a Court of summary jurisdiction at the Metropolitan District Courthouse, Inns Quay, Dublin, not having proceeded to final adjudication of the said complaint, was requested by the complainant to state and sign a case.

3. Wherefore, I, the Justice aforesaid, being of opinion that the evidence to the admission of which objection had been taken as aforesaid, being evidence of a medical expert, is essential to the proper determination of the complaint, in compliance with the said request and in pursuance of the Statute in such case made and provided do hereby state and sign the following Case for the opinion of the High Court:—

At the hearing of the said complaint on the 10th and 24th days of October, 1951, it was proved that:—

4. On the 16th August, 1951, at about 3.5 p.m., a maroon-coloured motor car, owned by Edward Wall of 148 Iveragh Road, Whitehall, was being driven by the owner along Merrion Road, Dublin, at a speed of 25 to 30 miles per hour in the direction of Dun Laoghaire. There were two passengers, Brigid Hession and her son, Stanislaus Hession, in the car. At a point forty or fifty feet on the south side of the junction of Ailesbury Road with Merrion Road, a motor car bearing the index letters and registered number, ZA and 7432, respectively, owned and driven by the defendant, travelling behind another motor car at a speed of not more than 35 miles per hour along Merrion Road in the direction of Dublin, that is, in the direction opposite to that in which Edward Wall's motor car was travelling, swerved from its left hand to its right hand side of the road in an endeavour to pass the motor car preceding it, and struck with the right hand tip of its front bumper and damaged the hub-cap of the right hand rear wheel and the flange of the mud-guard above the same wheel of Edward Wall's motor car.

5. Edward Wall, who was driving his motor-car about three to four feet from the kerb on his left hand side of the road, observed the defendant's motor car swerving towards its right hand side. Edward Wall swerved his motor car to its left hand side in an endeavour to avoid the defendant's motor car, and stopped immediately after the impact.

6. The defendant's motor car did not stop after striking Edward Wall's motor car but continued travelling along Merrion Road in the direction of Dublin.

7. As a result of enquiries made and information received by James Maughan, a member of An Garda Siochana, he went, in company with John Doherty, another member of An Garda Siochana, on the afternoon of the 16th August, 1951, to Fassaugh Avenue, Cabra West, where outside a house numbered 82, the residence of the defendant, he saw the defendant's motor car, bearing the index letters and registered number, ZA and 7432, respectively, parked on its correct side of the Avenue opposite the residence of the defendant.

8. Garda James Maughan examined the defendant's motor car and found on the right hand tip of its front bumper a spot of paint or enamel similar in colour to that of the paint or enamel on Edward Wall's motor car.

9. Garda James Maughan, having completed the examination described in the previous paragraph, knocked at the front door of the defendant's residence at 5.5 p.m. The door was opened to him by a woman, Miss Robinson, to whom he spoke. She retired from the door and, whilst she was so doing, Garda Maughan saw the defendant, who appeared to be asleep, sitting on a chair in a room. Miss Robinson spoke to the defendant who then came to the front door.

10. There was a smell of intoxicating liquor off the defendant's breath. He was unsteady on his feet and he leaned against the front door.


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