City of Sunderland Council v Dawson

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date12 November 2004
Neutral Citation[2004] EWHC 2796 (Admin)
Docket NumberCO/4130/2004
CourtQueen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
Date12 November 2004

[2004] EWHC 2796 (Admin)




Royal Courts of Justice

Strand London WC2


Lord Justice Thomas

Mr Justice Fulford


City Of Sunderland Council
Carol Dawson

MISS C GODWIN (instructed by Solicitor, City of Sunderland) appeared on behalf of the CLAIMANT

MR B RICHMOND (instructed by Michael Henderson & Co) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT


This is an appeal by way of case stated from a decision of the Magistrates' Court at Houghton Le Spring on 19 March 2004.


The facts are simple. The respondent ("the proprietor of the shop"), who appears to be a pensioner running a small shop in a village, also was the licensee of that shop at Springwell Village, Washington. On 20 March 2003 Trading Standards officers made a test purchase of alcohol at the shop using a 15 year-old girl called Samantha. Samantha went into the shop and bought from the proprietor a bottle which was labelled as containing Lambrini, a slightly sparkling wine, for which she paid £2.44. The label clearly stated the alcohol content was 7.5 per cent by volume.


The proprietor of the shop did not dispute that she sold the bottle to Samantha, and she said in response to questions as to whether she had asked for ID:

"Well I don't always go by appearances, I just sort of go by and I looked at her and I thought, well in my opinion she is old enough. I look at her hands and everything. In my opinion she was old enough, so I didn't really think I had to ask for any ID."


At the close of the prosecution case, the submission was made in these terms on behalf of the proprietor of the shop:

"This bottle … could contain anything because there was no certificate of analysis to show that it was, in fact, alcohol. Such certificates are now needed when drugs of any sort are seized to show that they are genuinely drugs therefore, the same could be held in relation to a bottle which albeit said on the outside that it was alcohol of 7.5% proof, without it being analysed, it could be 'anything'."


For some reason, though it is difficult to understand what reason there could possibly be, the prosecution said nothing. The justices acceded to the submission on the basis that the evidence for the prosecution had been discredited to such an extent that a reasonable bench, properly directed, could not find the defendant guilty.


The prosecuting authority, the Council of the City of Sunderland, applied for a case stated, and again for reasons it is difficult to understand, the justices' clerk was not as co-operative as he might have been in providing that case; certainly, it took some time to produce and hence the delay.


When the matter came for directions before this court, the learned judge, who considered it, granted a representation order, but observed that although the decision of the justices might seem manifestly ridiculous, the proprietor of the shop ought nonetheless to have such an order.


The law is, in my view, quite clear. Section 24(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 provides as follows:

"a statement in a document shall be admissible in criminal proceedings as evidence of any fact of which direct oral evidence would be admissible, if the following conditions are satisfied—

(i) the document was created … by a person in the course of a … business … and

(ii) the information contained in the document was supplied by a person (whether or not the maker of the statement) who had, or may reasonably be supposed to have had, personal knowledge of the matters dealt with."


Paragraph 5(1) of Schedule 2 to the Act defines a "document" as meaning anything in which information of any description is recorded; and "statement" means any representation of fact, however made. If that section was not clear enough, this court, in Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) v Atkinson [2002] EWHC 2028 Admin, had to consider its application in relation to the very point that has arisen in this case. In that case, the defendant was charged with selling veterinary medicinal products, which were saleable by prescription only. A submission of no case to answer was made to the magistrates and accepted by them on the basis there had been no analysis.


In considering the matter when it came to this court by way of case stated, Brooke LJ, in delivering...

To continue reading

Request your trial
1 cases
  • DPP v Buckley
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 8 d2 Maio d2 2007
    ...1972 CLR 174 R v CHATWOOD & ORS 1980 1 WLR 874 1980 1 AER A67 R v BAGSHAW 1995 CLR 433 CITY OF SUNDERLAND v DAWSON UNREP 12.11.2004 2004 EWHC 2796 (ADMIN DPP v MCHUGH 2002 1 IR 352 2002 9 2175 2006/1638SS - Charleton - High - 08/05/2007 - 2007 16 3400 2007 IEHC 150 1 1. The defendant was ch......

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