The State (Hastings) v District Justice Reddin

Judgment Date01 January 1955
Date01 January 1955
CourtHigh Court
The State (Hastings) v. Reddin
THE STATE (at the Prosecution of JAMES HASTINGS)
KENNETH REDDIN, District Justice of the District Court Area of Lucan (1)

High Court

District Court - Jurisdiction - Indictable offences - Right to trial summarily or by jury - Failure to inform accused of his right - Whether election by accused to be tried summarily - Conviction on summary trial - Criminal Justice Act, 1951 (No. 2 of 1951), s. 2, sub-s. 2 (a) - District Court Rules, r. 59 (1).

The accused was charged in the District Court at Kilmainham, Dublin, with 1, shooting at one, A. D., with intent to do grievous bodily harm and 2, assault upon the said A. D. occasioning actual bodily harm. When the case was called the evidence for the prosecution was taken on deposition and on the conclusion of this evidence the matter was adjourned to the next sitting of the District Court to be held at Lucan, County Dublin. On the resumption of the hearing at Lucan the District Court clerk read over the deposition already taken, whereupon the District Justice inquired of the parties whether they required depositions to be taken. Both the Garda Superintendent, prosecuting, and counsel for the accused replied that they did not. The accused was then tried summarily and was convicted and sentenced on both charges. On an application to the High Court the accused obtained a conditional order of certiorari to quash the convictions on the grounds that they were made without jurisdiction and in excess of jurisdiction and that they were irregular and disclosed an error on their face in that they failed to show that the person thereby convicted had been informed by the Court of his right to be tried by a jury. The conditional order quashing the conviction for shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm was granted on the further ground that the conviction disclosed an error on its face in that it purported to convict the prosecutor summarily of an offence triable only upon indictment Cause was shown in respect only of the conditional order quashing the conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and on the application to make absolute the said conditional order it was

Held by the High Court that s. 2, sub-s. 2 (a), of the Criminal Justice Act, 1951, imposes on a District Justice the duty to inform a person accused of a scheduled offence under the said section of his right to be tried by a jury, that the giving of such information to the accused by the Court and the absence of objection by the accused to being so tried are conditions precedent to the exercise of the jurisdiction conferred by the section: that inasmuch as this information had not been given to the accused the cause shown must be disallowed and the conditional order quashing the order of the District Court in respect of the second charge must be made absolute.

The State (Keohane) v. Cork Circuit Judge and Cork District Justice [1946] I. R. 364 distinguished.


The facts have been summarised in the head-note and are set out fully in the judgment of Davitt P., post.

Cur. adv. vult.

Davitt P.:—

The prosecutor, James Hastings was on the 4th October, 1951, charged before District Justice Reddin in the District Court at Kilmainham, with (a) shooting at one, Alexander Dalgety, with intent to do grievous bodily harm; and (b)an assault upon the said Alexander Dalgety occasioning actual bodily harm.

The Criminal Justice Act, 1951, s. 2, sub-s. 2 (a), provides that the District Court may try summarily a person charged with an indictable offence mentioned in the First Schedule to the Act if 1, the Court is of opinion that the facts proved or alleged constitute a minor offence fit to be tried summarily, and 2, the accused, on being informed by the Court of his right to be tried with a jury, does not object to being tried summarily.

The offence alleged in the second charge is a scheduled offence which the District Justice had jurisdiction to try summarily with the consent of the accused given in the proper circumstances.

Rule 59 (1) of the District Court Rules, 1948, provides:—

"When a defendant appears or is brought before a Justice charged with an indictable offence which under any statute the Justice has jurisdiction to deal with summarily either if the defendant does not object or if the defendant pleads guilty, then the Justice may without taking depositions as aforesaid hear such evidence as may be adduced in support of the charge and if the offence then appear to the Justice to be a minor one fit to be tried summarily, he shall inform

the defendant of his right to be tried by a jury, and if the defendant (enquiry having been made of him by the Justice) does not object to being tried summarily, or pleads guilty as the case may be, the Justice shall then proceed to hear and determine the case in manner

To continue reading

Request your trial
9 cases
  • O'Keeffe v Governor of St. Patrick's Institution
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 13 December 2005
  • Georghe Cirpaci v Governor of Mountjoy Prison
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 25 February 2014
    ...2012 2 ILRM 153 2012/9/2413 2012 IESC 11 VOZZA, STATE v DISTRICT JUSTICE O FLOINN & JUDGE MCCARTHY 1957 IR 227 HASTINGS, STATE v REDDIN 1953 IR 134 1955 89 ILTR 98 CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1951 CRIMINAL JUSTICE (THEFT & FRAUD OFFENCES) ACT 2001 S53 Crime – Theft – Committal warrant - Legalit......
  • Roche (also known as Dumbrell) v Governor of Cloverhill Prison
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 31 July 2014
    ...Constitution in respect of non-minor offences. It had been well established in relation to this right since The State (Hastings) v Reddin [1953] IR 134 that the exercise of that right depended upon the judge informing the accused of that entitlement. That did not happen in the Cirpaci case.......
  • State (Vozza), The v District Justice O Floinn and Another
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 29 November 1957
    ... ... The first matter to be considered is accordingly whether the proper conditions were fulfilled. In The State (Hastings) v. Reddin (1) this Court was of opinion that the proper procedure for the District Justice to adopt in a case such as this was (having first ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT