Dunn v Keane

Judgment Date27 May 1976
Date27 May 1976
Docket NumberNo. 8.
CourtHigh Court of Justiciary


L. J.-G. Emslie, Lord Cameron, Avonside.

No. 8.

Statutory Offences—Road Traffic Acts—Driving vehicle on a road or other public place while unfit through drink or drugs—Whether hotel driveway a "road"—Secs. 5 (1) and 196 (1)1 Rood Traffic Act 1972 (cap. 20).

The driver of a motor vehicle was convicted of an offence under sec. 5 (1) of the Road Traffic Act 1972 on the ground that he drove his vehicle along a driveway leading from a public road to an hotel while his ability to drive properly was impaired as a result of his having consumed alcohol. The driveway led from the public road to the hotel carpark. There was no barrier at the end of the driveway. It was owned by the owners of the hotel for the use of hotel patrons and others having business with the owners. It was lit at their expense. It was the only means of access to the hotel. The hotel had been open for some time to members of the public, who resorted there to stay or to eat and drink.

Held that the road was a road to which the public had access within the meaning of sec. 196 (1) of the Road Traffic Act 19721; and conviction sustained.

Harrison v. HillSC 1932 J.C. 13 followed;Paterson v. OgilvySC1957 J.C. 42referred to.

Observed that it is clear that a place may be a public place even where there is a right to exclude certain members of the public.

Robert Forsyth Dunn was charged on a summary complaint in the Sheriff Court of South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway at Airdrie, at the instance of James Farrell, Procurator-fiscal, that "on 25th October 1975 on a road, or other public place, namely on the road in Cairnhill Road, Airdrie, Strathclyde, at a part thereof at the driveway of the Cairnhill House Hotel, you were, when driving a motor vehicle, namely motor car registered number NVS 673G, unfit to drive through drink or drugs: Contrary to section 5 (1) of the Road Traffic Act 1972." The accused pleaded not guilty.

After the Crown case closed, the Procurator-fiscal moved successfully to amend the libel by deleting from the charge the words "at a part thereof at" and substituting therefor the word "and."

The Sheriff (Stewart), after evidence had been led, found the accused guilty as libelled and at his request stated a case for the Opinion of the High Court of Justiciary.

The facts of the case appear from the Opinion of the Court as follows:—"The appellant in this Stated Case was charged on summary complaint. The charge to which the appellant pled not...

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