Sullivan v Robinson

JurisdictionIreland
CourtSupreme Court
Judgment Date27 November 1954
Date27 November 1954

Supreme Court.

Sullivan v. Robinson
INSPECTOR MICHAEL SULLIVAN
Complainant
and
MAJOR KANDA ROBINSON
Defendant.

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.

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.

11. Garda Maughan spoke to the defendant and asked him to look at his (the defendant's) car, that there was some damage to it. The defendant replied that he would examine his car afterwards, in his own time.

12. Garda Maughan cautioned the defendant, arrested him and brought him to Irishtown Garda Station.

13. In Irishtown Garda Station the defendant, at the request of Station Sergeant Patrick Joseph Burke, walked along a floor-board. Whilst so walking he was very unsteady on his feet. The time at which the defendant performed this action was, roughly, thirty-five minutes after Garda James Maughan had called to the defendant's residence.

14. There are two small rooms connected by a door in Irishtown Garda Station and conversation in one of these rooms is audible in the other.

15. At 6.30 p.m. Doctor Seán Lavan, Garda Medical Officer, medically examined the defendant at the request of Station Sergeant Patrick Joseph Burke who was in charge of Irishtown Garda Station at that time.

16. The medical examination was conducted in one of the two rooms mentioned in para. 14 (sup.), and there were present in the room during the examination the complainant, Garda James Maughan, and a youth, a son of the defendant, in addition to the defendant and Doctor Seán Lavan. Station Sergeant Patrick Joseph Burke was in the room adjoining that in which the examination was conducted and he saw the defendant perform the actions which the Doctor...

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