Blaikie v Morrison

Judgment Date27 February 1957
Docket NumberNo. 7.
Date27 February 1957
CourtHigh Court of Justiciary


Lord Justice-Clerk. Lord Mackintosh. Lord Blades.

No. 7.

Statutory Offences—Revenue—Excise—Duty on mechanically propelled vehicles—Duty payable according to "weight unladen" of vehicle—Platform type of lorry—Whether detachable side and tail boards included in "weight unladen"—Vehicles (Excise) Act, 1949 (12, 13 and 14 Geo. VI, cap. 89), sec. 26 (1).

The Vehicles (Excise) Act, 1949, fixes the licence duty payable on certain mechanically propelled vehicles according to their "weight unladen." Sec. 26 (1) enacts that such weight shall be taken to be "the weight of the vehicle inclusive of the body and all parts…which are necessary to or ordinarily used with the vehicle when working on a road, but exclusive of…loose equipment."

A lorry of the platform type was adapted and used for carrying lime by the addition of a superstructure consisting of detachable side and tail boards which fitted inside permanent three-inch-high sides running round the platform of the lorry and which were secured in position by detachable posts and by rings and pins.

Held that the test whether the side and tail boards were "loose equipment" was whether, looking to their nature and in particular to the manner and character of their attachment to the lorry, they were truly a functional part of the lorry as a load-carrying vehicle, although a part which might only be used intermittently; and that the circumstances of the case justified a finding that the side and tail boards were not "loose equipment."

Ratio of Lowe v. StoneUNK, [1948] 2 All E. R. 1076,doubted.

Thomas Blaikie was charged in the Sheriff Court at Duns on a complaint at the instance of George Steel Morrison, Procurator-fiscal, appointed by the County Council to prosecute in terms of the Roads Act, 1920, which set forth "that (1) having taken out a licence under section 5 of the Vehicles (Excise) Act, 1949, and paragraph 7 of Part I of the Fourth Schedule thereto, at a yearly rate of duty of £43, 2s., being licence duty of £35 and transport levy under section 12 of the Transport Act, 1953,1 of £8, 2s., as for a goods vehicle, namely a Bedford motor lorry, registration number BSY 744, of an unladen weight of 2 tons, 19 cwts. 78 lbs., you did, on 26th June 1956, upon the public road between Grantshouse and Ayton, and at a part thereof in the Parish of Ayton and County of Berwick, about 200 yards south east of the junction of the road leading to East Reston Mill, while said licence was in force, use by the hands of Robert Love Swinton, 7A Moir Terrace, Levenhall, Musselburgh, said lorry in an altered condition, namely, with heavier sides and tail board which would bring it within a description of vehicle, namely a goods vehicle of an unladen weight of 3 tons, 15 cwts. 1 qr., to which a higher rate of duty is applicable under said Act, namely, licensing duty of £56, 7s. 6d., being £46, 5s. licence duty and £10, 2s. 6d. transport levy, and duty at the higher rate was not paid when said vehicle was so used; Contrary to the Vehicles (Excise) Act, 1949, section 13." The complaint also libelled similar offences in respect of two other vehicles.

On 14th December 1956...

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