R v Guilfoyle

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Criminal Division)
Judgment Date09 March 1973
Judgment citation (vLex)[1973] EWCA Crim J0309-1
Docket NumberNo. 36/B/73
Date09 March 1973

[1973] EWCA Crim J0309-1



Royal Courts of Justice


Lord Justice Lawton

Lord Justice Scarman


Mr. Justice Eveleigh

No. 36/B/73

John Kenneth Goilfoyle

MR. M. R. SWIFT appeared as Counsel for the Appellant.


On the 14th December, 1972 at Wakefield Crown Court, after a trial before Mr. Recorder Walker and a jury, the Appellant was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and was fined £75 to be paid at the rate of £1.50p per week. He was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for four years and his licence was endorsed. It was further ordered that he must pass a driving test before his licence could be restored. He now appeals against sentence by leave of the single Judge.


The facts are of a very common kind. On the 13th July, 1972 at about 5.30 p.m. the Appellant was driving his employer's flat-backed motor lorry along Durkar Low Lane in Wakefield. At the junction of that lane with Denby Dale Road, which was an unrestricted, two-lane duel-carriageway, the Appellant stopped at the 'Give Way' sign. At that moment a Ford motor car and a motor van, both coming from the direction of Wakefield, turned left from Denby Dale Road, which was of course the major road, into Durkar Low Lane. A mini car containing three passengers and driven by a Mr. Senior came along the major road, at the rear of the two vehicles turning left and in the centre of the traffic lanes. It was approaching the junction of the major road and Durkar Low Lane at a speed of about 50 m.p.h.


It would appear both from a written statement which the Appellant made after the accident and his evidence that he did not appreciate the presence of that mini car on the road, and the Court can understand how that could come about; but it is no answer for the Appellant to say, as he did, that he did not see the mini car. It was his duty, before coming out of the minor road on to the major road, to make sure that it was safe for him to do so, and as long as that mini car was there it clearly was not safe.


The Appellant brought his lorry out of the minor road, across the carriageway of the major road, intending to turn to his right towards Wakefield. Unfortunately that manoevre brought him into the path of the on-coming mini car. There was a collision and all the occupants of the mini car were hurt, and the driver of it died later from his injuries.


As I have said, that is a very common type of accident. Clearly, on those facts, the Appellant was guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and he has not sought to appeal from his conviction. What he is saying is that the penalties imposed upon him, in all the circumstances, were too severe. He is a young man aged nineteen of hitherto good character, and although he has not been driving very long his driving record is satisfactory. He drives for his living. He has had three...

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