CASE SUMMARIES 23 June 1996

The following notes of judgments were prepared by the reporters of the All England Law Reports.

Court Martial

R v Paine; CA Cr Div (Stuart-Smith LJ, ForbesJ, Eady J) 23 May 1997.

The offence of flying an aircraft in a manner causing or likely to cause unnecessary annoyance to a person contrary to s 52 of the Air Force Act 1955 was not one of strict liability. The necessary mens rea was an intention to fly in the prohibited manner, or recklessness as to whether annoyance was or was likely to be caused.

Edward Brown (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; Simon Morgan (Director, Air Force Legal Services) for the Crown.

Road Traffic

DPP v Underwood; QBD Div Ct (Simon Brown LJ, Owen J) 4 June 1997.

Although there was a presumption that the speed enforcement system on the M25 was working properly, it was no more than a presumption and thus, in an exceptional case, could be rebutted. The instant case was such a case in that the driver, who had an unblemished record, had asserted that the speed limit had not been displayed at the time when his car had been photographed by the automatic cameras, and the witness who gave evidence as to the removal of the film from the overhead gantry could give no information as to the workings of the system.

Timothy Spencer (CPS) for the appellant; Lindsay Macdonald (Amery Parkes, Basingstoke) for the respondent.

Arnold v DPP; QBD Div Ct (Simon Brown LJ, Owen J) 9 June 1997.

In the modern days of computer technology it was not reasonable to expect the specifically authorised person to sign every notice served under s 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 which emanated from the Central Ticket Office. A notice which bore a printed subscription relating to the sender of the notice and indicating that he was acting for the Chief Constable was satisfactory. There was no requirement that the notice should assert in terms that the sender was duly authorised by the Chief Constable.

Bernard Tetlow (Arnold Du Feu, Oxford) for the appellant; Rhodri Price- Lewis (CPS) for the respondent.

Magistrates' Courts

R v Horseferry Road Magistrates' Court, ex p DPP; QBD Div Ct (Simon Brown LJ, Owen J) 10 June 1997.

If a stipendiary magistrate disapproved of the conduct of the prosecution, a senior representative of the CPS could be sent for so that the stipendiary's concerns could be put to him in open court and the prosecution could then be penalised in costs. Where, however, the conduct disapproved of was that of a store detective, the stipendiary could not dismiss the charge as a means of disciplining that detective and as a means of encouraging store detectives generally to act more appropriately in the future, but should adjourn the case pursuant to the power in s 10(1) of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 for a rehearing before a fresh bench.

John McGuinness (CPS) for the applicant; neither the respondent nor the defendant appeared nor were represented.

CORRECTION: In R v Staines & anr (Case Summaries, 16 June 1997) the reference to answers given under compulsion pursuant to s 177 of the Financial Services Act 1986 should have read "pursuant to s 434 of the Companies Act 1985".

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