Purnell, Regina (on The Application of) v Snaresbrook Crown Court: Admn 30 Mar 2011

The claimant sought judicial review of a dismissal of his appeal against conviction for failing to provide information as to the identity of a driver. The appeal court had found that he had not received the notices requiring him to provide the information, and he said that the court had refused to listen to evidence he sought to provide. The court said that there was a duty on him to make arrangements to receive notices relating to the car.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The duty asserted by the court did not exist as such: ‘section 172 provides that the requirement on the keeper of a vehicle to provide the relevant information arises once a Notice has been sent to his last known address, which (as here) will almost inevitably be the address at which he is the registered keeper. Once a Notice has been so sent, a keeper is guilty of an offence if he fails to provide the requisite information within 28 days unless, on a balance of probabilities, he can establish a statutory defence under subsection (7) (for example, under subsection (7)(b) that it was not reasonably practicable to give the information because the notice was never delivered to the registered address), or under subsection (4) (for example, that despite receiving the Notice he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was at the material time).
It follows, in my view, that section 172 does not create a duty, as such, on a registered keeper to make sure that he is available at the registered address to receive communications such as Notices of Intended Prosecution. Rather, a failure to be so available is simply a factor which may make it very difficult, if not impossible, for a registered keeper to discharge the burden on him of proving a defence under subsection (7)(b), particularly if that defence is the example that I have just given, namely that it was not reasonably practicable to comply with the Notice because it was never delivered to the registered address.’
[2011] EWHC 934 (Admin)
Road Traffic Act 1988 172(3), Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedWhiteside v The Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 21-Dec-2011
The defendant appealed by case stated against conviction under section 172 of failing to provide appropriate driver details. The notices had been received at his address, but he had been unaware of them. He was at the time working regularly in the . .

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Updated: 07 March 2021; Ref: scu.432842