The State (McCormack) v Curran

CourtSupreme Court
JudgeFINLAY J., WALSH J.
Judgment Date01 Jan 1987
JurisdictionIreland
Neutral Citation1986 WJSC-SC 1115

1986 WJSC-SC 1115

THE SUPREME COURT

Finlay C.J.

Walsh J.

Henchy J.

Griffin J.

Hederman J.

167/86
MCCORMACK v. CURRAN ,DPP &AG
THE STATE AT THE PROSECUTION OF GABRIEL PETERMcCORMACK
Prosecutor/Appellant

and

CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT CURRAN, THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLICPROSECUTIONS AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Respondents

Citations:

COLLINS, STATE V RUANE 1985 ILRM 349

CRIMINAL LAW ACT 1975 SCH 3 ART 2

CRIMINAL LAW JURISDICTION ACT 1976

MCCORMACK V CURRAN 1987 ILRM 225

Synopsis:

CONSTITUTION

Personal rights

Criminal charge - Preferment - Director of Public Prosecutions - Discretion - Plaintiff prosecuted on indictment in Northern Ireland - Plaintiff seeking trial for corresponding offence in Republic of Ireland - Condition precedent being warrant issued in Republic for arrest of plaintiff for corresponding offence - Plaintiff requesting Director to order that warrant of arrest be issued - Refusal of Director to grant request - Held that the Constitution did not confer on plaintiff a right to compel the Director to bring criminal charges against the plaintiff - Order of Barr J. (2/5/86) affirmed - Criminal Justice Act, 1975, s.2 (U.K.) - Prosecution of Offences Act, 1974, s.3 - Articles 30, 40 - (167/86 - Supreme Court - 31/7/86)

|The State (McCormack) v. Curran|

CRIMINAL LAW

Offence

Location - Extra-territorial offence - Trial - Venue - Trial of applicant pending in Northern Ireland - Count in indictment charging applicant with commission of an extra-territorial offence within meaning of s.2 of Act of 1975 - Acts and omissions of applicant also constituting a corresponding offence under the law of the Republic of Ireland - Applicant desiring to be tried in the courts of the Republic for the corresponding offence - Respondent Chief Superintendent and respondent Director of Public Prosecutions requested by applicant to ensure the issue of a warrant for the arrest of the applicant for the corresponding offence - Failure of Chief Superintendent and refusal of Director to accede to request - Applicant seeking to compel the respondents to obtain the issue of such warrant - Held that, in general, a member of the Garda Siochana, who becomes aware of information leading to a suspicion that a serious crime has been committed by an identified individual, should proceed to arrest that individual without a warrant or lay an information on oath to ground the issue of a warrant, or otherwise initiate a prosecution of that individual for the offence - Held that, nevertheless, the respondent Superintendent had been justified in consulting with the Director before deciding whether to comply with the applicant's request - Held that the decisions of the respondent Superintendent and of the Director were reviewable by the courts in appropriate circumstances - Held that, in the absence of prima facie proof of ~mala fides~ on the part of the Director, there were no grounds for doubting that the refusal of the Director had been made on proper grounds and, therefore, the court would not seek from the Director an explanation of his refusal or the source of the information upon which his refusal was based - Held that the applicant did not have a constitutional right to compel the institution of a criminal prosecution against him - Affirmation of decision of Barr J. (2/5/86) discharging conditional orders of mandamus and certiorari - Criminal Justice Act, 1975, s.2 (U.K.) - Constitution of Ireland, 1937, Article 40, s.3 - (167/86 - Supreme Court - 31/7/86)

|The State (McCormack) v. Curran|

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS

Powers

Exercise - Review - Preferment of criminal charge - Discretion - Plaintiff prosecuted on indictment in Northern Ireland - Plaintiff seeking trial for corresponding offence in Republic of Ireland - Condition precedent being warrant issued in the Republic for the arrest of the plaintiff for the corresponding offence - Plaintiff requesting Director to order the issue of warrant of arrest - Refusal of Director to grant request - Held that the decision of the Director was not exempt from review by the courts - Held that, in the absence of prima facie proof of ~mala fides~ on the part of the Director, there were no grounds for doubting that the refusal of the Director had been made on proper grounds and, therefore, the court would not seek from the Director an explanation of his refusal or the source of the information upon which his refusal was based - Order of Barr J. (2/5/86) affirmed - Criminal Justice Act, 1975, s.2 (U.K.) - Prosecution of Offences Act, 1974, s.3 - Constitution of Ireland, 1937, Articles 30, 40 - (167/86 - Supreme Court - 31/7/86)

|The State (McCormack) v. Curran|

1

JUDGMENT delivered on the 31st day of July 1986by FINLAY J.

2

This is an appeal by the Prosecutor against the Order of the High Court, made by Barr J. on the 2nd May 1986, discharging Conditional Orders of Certiorari and Mandamus dated the 6th February 1986, against the first and second-named Defendant and allowing the cause shown againstthem.

3

The Prosecutor is a citizen of Ireland, ordinarily resident in Co. Monaghan and is in custody in Northern Ireland awaiting trial by the crown court in Belfast on six charges inrelation to acts which areallegedto have occurred between September and October 1982, all of which said acts are alleged to have occurred in this State. The jurisdiction of the Crown Court to try the accused on these charges arises pursuant to the Criminal Law Act 1975, a statute of the United Kingdom Parliament, which was reciprocal to the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act 1976,being an Act of the Oireachtas The two reciprocating statutes were passed in accordance with recommendations made by the Law Enforcement Commission appointed jointly by the Irish and British Governments pursuant to what is known as "The SunningdaleAgreement".

4

The Prosecutor was arrested in Northern Ireland in February 1985 and it is alleged that upon being interrogated with regard to the offences with which he is now charged, he made a series of statements admitting his participation in them.

5

The offences consist of what was eventually a frustrated attempt by a number of persons to detonate an improvised bomb under a roadway through which itwas anticipated that an RUC vehicle containing members of the RUC would be passing. All the witnesses in the case are resident in Northern Ireland and investigations in the case, such as forensic investigations, have all been carried out in Northern Ireland.

6

The Prosecutor was returned for trial by order of the Petty Sessions Court in Cookstown, made on the 15th November 1985 and was apparently due for trial at the Crown Court on the 28th January 1986.

7

On the 24th January 1986 the Solicitor on behalf of the Prosecutor handed a letter enclosing a copy of the depositions and book of evidence to the first-named Respondent who is the Superintendent in charge of the Monaghan District. On receipt of that letter this Respondent apparently telephoned the Solicitor for the Prosecutor stating that he was consulting the Director of Public Prosecutions and had forwarded the documentation to him.

8

The purpose of this application to the first-namedRespondent was to obtain from him a decision that he would lay an information on oath before the District Court and seek a warrant for the arrest of the Prosecutor on charges under the law of this State corresponding to the charges which have been preferred against him in Northern Ireland.

9

The purpose of this operation was to bring into effect Article 2 of the Third Schedule to the Criminal Law Act of 1975 which provides that "if a person is accused of an extra-territorial offence and a judge of the High Court or the court of trial is satisfied that a warrant has been duly issued in the Republic of Ireland on an information laid by a member of the police force (Garda Siochana) in the Republic of Ireland for his arrest...

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