R v Hennigan

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Criminal Division)
Judgment Date25 February 1971
Judgment citation (vLex)[1971] EWCA Crim J0225-3
Docket NumberNo. 2251/C/70

[1971] EWCA Crim J0225-3



Royal Courts of Justice


The Lord Chief Justice of England (Lord Parker)

Lord Justice Widgery


Mr. Justice Cooke

No. 2251/C/70

James Hennigan

MR. H.K. GODDARD appeared as Counsel for the Appellant.

MR. M. FEENY appeared as Counsel for the Crown.


In February last at Liverpool Crown Court this Appellant was convicted by a majority verdict of 10 to 2 on two counts of causing death by driving in a manner dangerous to the public. He was fined £25 on each count and disqualified for five years and a further six months consecutive under the totting up procedure. He now appeals against conviction on a point of law or mixed law and fact, and in addition applies for leave to appeal against his sentence.


In view of the point that is made, it is really unnecessary to go into the facts in full in this case. Quite shortly what happened was that a Mrs. Lowe driving a Vauxhall car with two passengers was emerging from a road called Old Road in order to cross the Wigan to Ashton Road and go into Nicol Road opposite. Old Road and Nicol Road were minor roads and indeed there was a "Give way" sign where Mrs. Lowe was approaching. The evidence was that she stopped at the entrance and then moved forward, and her evidence was that she had looked to her left towards Wigan and that the only traffic that she saw was a long way away down by a railway bridge. However, she had only just got astride the middle of the road when a Ford Cortina driven by the Appellant from Wigan towards Ashton crashed into her broadside and unfortunately as a result Mrs. Lowe's two passengers were killed.


There was a considerable body of evidence that this Appellant was driving at a fast speed; the estimates went up to 80 miles an hour, and almost immediately before the accident he appears to have overtaken a Jaguar, regaining his side of the road and then crashing into Mrs. Lowe's car. It at once occurs to one that if this was a civil action, Mrs. Lowe might be held substantially to blame, emerging from a minor road, because she clearly was at fault; on the other hand the Appellant in a restricted area at night - it was 11 o'clock at night - was clearly going too fast, and dangerously too fast.


The trouble that has arisen in this case is in regard to a direction that the learned Judge gave when the Jury, after retirement, came back and asked a question. In the course of the summing-up he told the Jury that it must be shown that the Appellant's manner of driving caused the collision and that the collision caused the death. He said this: "It is admitted by the defence here very properly that the death...

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38 cases
  • R v Williams (Jason John)
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • Invalid date
  • R v Williams (Jason)
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 2 November 2010
    ...or substantial cause, the verdict may well have been different. 22 In our view the correctness of the judge's direction is clear from R v Hennigan (1971) 55 Crim.App.R 262. In that case this court, presided over by the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Parker CJ, had to consider the question of......
  • R v Hendy-Freegard (Robert)
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 23 May 2007
  • The Secretary of State for Justice v A Local Authority
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 22 October 2021
    ...EWCA Crim 1249 (a case of causing death by careless driving) Toulson LJ, summarised the state of the law of causation by reference to R v. Hennigan [1971] 55 Cr App R 262, [1971] 3 All ER 133, R v. Skelton (1995) Crim LR 635 and R v. Barnes [2008] EWCA Crim 635 at para [9]: “Those author......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 books & journal articles
  • Court of Appeal
    • United Kingdom
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The Nbr. 75-2, April 2011
    • 1 April 2011
    ...driving had to be a major or sub-stantial cause. Thomas LJ (at [22]) applied the approach taken by theCourt of Appeal in R v Hennigan (1971) 55 Cr App R 262, a case ofcausing death by dangerous driving. With regard to the issue of causa-tion, Lord Parker CJ had observed in that case that ‘[......
  • More than Merely More than Minimal: The Meaning of the Term ‘Substantial’ in the Context of Diminished Responsibility: R v Golds [2014] EWCA Crim 748
    • United Kingdom
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The Nbr. 78-5, October 2014
    • 1 October 2014
    ...(1983) 76 Cr App R 279 at 288). In this context, the terms ‘substantial’ and ‘signif‌icant’ mean ‘more than de minimis’ (R v Hennigan (1971) 55 Cr App R 262 at 265) or ‘more than minimal’ (R v Hughes [2013] UKSC 56, [2013] 1 WLR 2461 at [14], [18], [22], [28], [32], [33] and 377Meaning of ‘......
  • Infanticide and Pre-Existing Mental Conditions: Disentangling the Causal Factors Relevant to a Jury’s Deliberations
    • United Kingdom
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The Nbr. 82-5, October 2018
    • 1 October 2018
    ...result. Despite suggesting that 20 per cent of the blame would be sufficient to justifyliability, the Court of Appeal in RvHennigan [1971] 3 All ER 133 noted that courts should avoid layingdown a precise figure of contribution. With this in mind, there is a degree of curiosity regarding the......

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