Exclusion of Evidence: DPP (Walsh) v Cash

AuthorYvonne Marie Daly
DOI10.1350/ijep.2011.15.1.368
Published date01 January 2011
Date01 January 2011
Subject MatterCase Note
CASE NOTE
EXCLUSION OF EVIDENCE
CASE NOTE
Exclusion of evidence: DPP (Walsh) v
Cash
By Yvonne Marie Daly*
Lecturer in Law, Socio-Legal Research Centre, School of Law and
Government, Dublin City University
Keywords Exclusionary rule; Improperly obtained evidence; Fingerprint
evidence; Police investigations; Ireland
n January 2010, the Irish Supreme Court handed down its much-antici-
pated decision in DPP (Walsh) vCash.1This case centred on fingerprint
evidence which had been obtained from the appellant following his
arrest in relation to a burglary. The arrest was based on a match between finger-
prints taken at the scene of the crime and fingerprints held on a Garda Síóchána
(police) database. The retained fingerprints had been taken in relation to another
incident several years previously and it was unclear whether or not they had been
properly retained. Defence counsel argued that if the prosecution could not prove
the lawfulness of the retained fingerprints, then the arrest could not be seen as
lawful and the taking of fingerprints following the arrest was not lawful either. In
fact, it was argued, the fingerprint evidence ought to be excluded at trial as it had
been obtained in breach of the constitutional rights of the accused.
Charleton J, giving the High Court judgment in Cash, was highly critical of the
strict exclusionary rule which has operated in Ireland for many years in the
context of unconstitutionally obtained evidence. While he ultimately held that
the rule was inapplicable on the facts, it was thought that the Supreme Court
might take the opportunity to address the exclusionary rule and either to support
doi:10.1350/ijep.2011.15.1.368
62 (2011) 15 E&P 62–69 THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EVIDENCE & PROOF
I
1 [2007] IEHC 108 (28 March 2007), [2010] IESC 1 (18 January 2010).
* PhD, Law, Trinity College, Dublin. Email: yvonne.daly@dcu.ie.

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