Robertson v McGinn

JurisdictionScotland
Judgment Date20 May 1955
Docket NumberNo. 11.
Date20 May 1955
CourtHigh Court of Justiciary

HIGH COURT

Lord Justice-General. Lord Carmont. Lord Russell.

No. 11.
Robertson
and
M'Ginn

Statutory Offences—Road Traffic Acts—Permitting use of motor vehicle without insurance against third-party risks—Disqualification for holding licence—"Special reasons" for reducing or remitting statutory period of disqualification—Road Traffic Act, 1930 (20 and 21 Geo. V, cap. 43), sec. 35 (1) and (2).

Review—Stated case—Form of case—Ambiguity in statement of facts—"Consequently"—Whether consequence a fact or an unwarranted inference.

The Road Traffic Act, 1930, by sec. 35, subsec. (2), enacts that a person convicted under that section of the offence of permitting the use of a motor vehicle not insured against third-party risks shall, "unless the Court for special reasons thinks fit to order otherwise," be disqualified for twelve months for holding a licence.

A farmer, who had pleaded guilty to a charge under sec. 35 of having caused and permitted an employee to use an agricultural tractor without there being any third-party insurance in force, was disqualified for holding or obtaining a licence for twelve months. The admitted facts, as set forth in a stated case, included the fact that he "had been told and knew that this tractor was not licensed for current use and consequently was not insured to comply with the requirements of" the Act. The case further set forth that it had been urged on his behalf that there were special reasons for remitting the disqualification, in that (1) he was a man of substance, well able to meet any claim arising out of an accident, and (2) he required to drive his car both in connexion with his business as a farmer and in order to attend meetings of several local committees concerned with church, agricultural and local government affairs.

Held (diss. Lord Carmont) that in the circumstances there were no special reasons within the meaning of sec. 35 which would have justified the Sheriff-substitute in remitting the disqualification required by the Act.

Opinion, per Lord Carmont, that, having regard more especially to the use of the word "consequently," the case as stated did not necessarily warrant the view that the appellant knew the tractor to be uninsured, and that it was accordingly possible that his offence was inadvertent.

Observed by the Lord Justice-General, with reference toMurray v. Macmillan, 1942 J. C. 10, that, although in war time the public duties imposed on a doctor might be such as to constitute special reasons, the situation was quite different in peace time, and a strong case of irreplaceability would require to be established before such duties could be regarded as constituting special reasons.

George William Robertson, farmer, was charged in the Sheriff Court at Kirkwall on a summary complaint at the instance of Francis M'Ginn, Procurator-fiscal, which set forth that "on 26th November 1954, on the Lyking Road and at a part thereof near Lyking Farm in Orkney, you did cause and permit William Ballantyne Tait, farm worker… to use a motor vehicle, namely an agricultural tractor, registered number B.S. 2716, with trailer attached, without there being in force in relation to the user of the vehicle by him such a policy of insurance or such a security in respect of third-party risks as complied with the requirements of Part II of the Road Traffic Act, 1930; contrary to said Act, section 35 (1).1"

The accused pleaded guilty, and was fined £5 and disqualified for twelve months for holding or obtaining a licence. At his request the Sheriff-substitute (D. B. Keith) stated a case for appeal to the High Court of Justiciary.

The stated case set forth that the following facts were admitted:—"(1) That the appellant had loaned one of his tractors to a neighbouring farmer and in exchange received the tractor and trailer referred to in the complaint; (2) that the appellant had been told and knew that this tractor was not licensed for current use and consequently was not insured to comply with the requirements of Part II of the Road Traffic Act, 1930; (3) that another of the tractors in use by the appellant on his farm broke down on 26th November 1954, and, while he was repairing it, the appellant instructed his farm worker, the said William Ballantyne Tait, to use the tractor No. B.S. 2716 with trailer attached; (4) that the said William Ballantyne Tait in accordance with these instructions used the said tractor on the Lyking (public) road and at a part thereof near Lyking Farm in… Orkney, when a very serious accident to a third party occurred; (5) that at the time and place in question the use of the said tractor, as above stated, was not covered in respect of third-party risks so as to comply with the requirements of Part II of the Road Traffic Act, 1930."

The case further set forth, inter alia:—"In mitigation of sentence, it was urged on behalf of the appellant that he was a man of substance and well able to meet any claim arising out of the accident. Further, as a large farmer with his farm not situated

on an omnibus route, it was essential that he retain his right to drive his car so as to get to market and to shop at Kirkwall and Stromness. In addition he was on several local committees, church, agricultural and local government, and he required his car to attend these. If he were deprived of his licence these public services (unpaid) must cease, to the public disadvantage.… It did not appear to me that any “special reasons” had been established sufficient to elide the statutory...

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3 cases
  • Muhammad Faizal
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 4 October 2011
    ...PP v Mohd Isa [1963] MLJ 135 (refd) PP v Tang Wee Sung [2008] SGDC 262 (refd) Re Kanapathipillai [1960] MLJ 243 (refd) Robertson v M'Ginn [1956] SLT 246 (refd) Siti Hajar bte Abdullah v PP [2006] 2 SLR (R) 248; [2006] 2 SLR 248 (folld) Sivakumar s/o Rajoo v PP [2002] 1 SLR (R) 265; [2002] 2......
  • Holroyd v Berry
    • United Kingdom
    • Divisional Court
    • Invalid date
  • Muhammad Faizal bin Rahim v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 4 October 2011
    ...World War, some Scottish cases have distinguished Murray on the ground that it was essentially a war time decision. In Robertson v M'Ginn [1956] SLT 246, the Scottish Court held (at 248): It may be that in war time the public duties imposed on a doctor may be such as to constitute special r......
1 books & journal articles
  • Recent Judicial Decisions
    • United Kingdom
    • Sage Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles No. 30-1, January 1957
    • 1 January 1957
    ...are special reasons to order otherwise.Once again the question of what are special reasons cropped up inthe case of Robertson v. McGinn (1956, S.L.T. 246). The materialfacts were that Robertson, a farmer, had received a tractor on loanwhich he knew was not licensed or insured. On one of his......

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