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Regina v. Faulkner

Court of Crown Cases Reserved Ireland
13 Cox C.C. 550 (1877)



While serving as a seaman on a cargo ship, Robert Faulkner (defendant) broke into a hold intending to steal rum stored in a cask. When rum began to pour out of a hole that Faulkner had bored in the cask, Faulkner lit a match while trying to stop up the hole with a spike. The match set the rum on fire, and the fire burned Faulkner and eventually destroyed the ship. Faulkner was indicted for the felony of setting the ship on fire. At Faulkner’s trial, the Crown (plaintiff) argued that because Faulkner was committing the felony of theft when the fire began, the issue of his intent to start the fire was irrelevant. The judge instructed the jury that if the jury found that Faulkner was engaged in stealing the rum when the fire started, the jury should also find him guilty of setting the ship on fire. The jury found Faulkner guilty on both counts. Faulkner appealed his conviction for setting the ship on fire to the Court of Crown Cases Reserved Ireland.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Barry, J)

Concurrence (O’Brien, J.)

Concurrence (Fitzgerald, J.)

Dissent (Keogh, J.)

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