A victory for fairness and common sense : R v Hughes

McDiarmid, Claire and Ferguson, Pamela (2014) A victory for fairness and common sense : R v Hughes. Edinburgh Law Review, 18 (1). pp. 84-88. ISSN 1364-9809

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Abstract

In 2006 several new offences were added to the Road Traffic Act 1988, one of which was section 3ZB 1. Headed “Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers”, this provides: A person is guilty of an offence under this section if he causes the death2 of another person by driving a motor vehicle on a road and, at the time when he is driving, the circumstances are such that he is ... (a) ... driving [without a valid] licence3... (b) ... driving while disqualified4... or (c) ... using a motor vehicle while uninsured5... The maximum penalty for this offence is two years’ imprisonment6 In R v Hughes7 the Supreme Court interpreted this in a way which is fairer to the accused than in previous cases, and in accordance with common sense views of causation. This note describes the previous position and summarises the Supreme Court’s ruling.