The defendant appealed his conviction for dangerous driving. The failure of the police to serve him with a notice of intended prosecution invalidated the conviction. The police replied that there was no need for such a notice because there had been an accident. The driver had been stopped but had then driven off. A police officer had had to place her hands on the bonnet to balance herself when avoiding it, and she had lost her grip on the door. The defendant said that the issue of whether there had been an accident should have been decided by a jury.
Held: The case of Seward could be distinguished, because the question of whether there had been an accident related not to the offence itself, but to the procedure involved, and ‘the reference to ‘court’ in what is now s2(3) of the 1988 Act means the judge when the case is proceeding in the crown court. The issues which the judge is required to decide under that subsection will plainly involve issues of fact. Other issues of fact can arise under section 1(1), for example whether the defendant was warned at the time of the offence that he might be prosecuted e.g. a police officer says he was warned but the defendant says he was not. The subsection is silent as to who decides such questions, but it seems to us that the whole of sections 1 and 2 are directed to the need to ensure that as far as possible defendants are not taken by surprise in relation to motoring offences to which s1 of the Act applies. What is required is that by one means or another they should have notice of the relevant event in sufficient time to be able to recall it themselves and recall it to others who may be able to give evidence on their behalf.’
Baker LJ, Openshaw J, Sir Richard Curtis
 EWCA Crim 926
Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 2
England and Wales
Cited – Rex v Bolkis CCA 1932
The defendant complained that a jury had not been asked a question of fact, namely whether his name and address could not be discovered withut due diligence. The section had a proviso that failure to comply with the section was not a bar to . .
Cited – Regina v Seward 1970
The section in the 1967Act required as a precondition to a request for a breath specimen that an accident had occurred. The defendant complained that this was an issue of fact, but had been decided by the deputy chairman and not the jury.
Cited – Regina v Morris 1972
Whether the particular facts of a case amount to an accident is a question of law. In a case of disputed facts under s2(2) of the 1967 Act it is for the jury to decide the facts and apply to the facts found the judge’s direction as to the meaning of . .
Cited – Regina v Stacey CA 1982
The defendant had been arrested for driving whilst unfit through drink. He was warned three hours later that he might be prosecuted for reckless driving. In fact he was not charged with any offence relating to drink. When tried for reckless driving . .
Cited – Fenton v J Thorley and Co Ltd HL 1903
A workman who ruptured himself by an act of over-exertion in trying to turn a wheel was held to have suffered an injury ‘by accident.’ The act of turning the wheel was not in itself an accident. But the injury which the man sustained while carrying . .
Cited – Chief Constable of West Midlands Police v Billingham 1979
Bridge LJ considered the meaning of the word ‘accident’, and, after saying that there had been many authorities for different stautory and contractual contexts, said: ‘It is, in my judgment, a word which has a perfectly well understood meaning in . .
Cited – Gibson v Dalton CA 1980
The requirement to notify a defendant of the possibility of a prosecution is to allow him to preserve any necessary evidence. . .
Cited – Bemner v Westwater HCJ 1993
A police officer was driving in the opposite direction to the accused. He came round a bend in the road to face two vehicles, one was driven by the accused overtaking the other vehicle. He was in the police officer’s path. The officer braked, . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 03 February 2021; Ref: scu.251506