Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Law report - special reasons not to disqualify from driving for 12 months

Petty v Miller [2012] SC (Bda) 63 App (5 November 2012)

The Appellant had pleaded guilty to driving over the alcohol limit, driving an unlicensed vehicle and without insurance. He had been riding a toy scooter, not as a means of transport, but just riding it outside of his house, at a low speed, and with a low risk of harm. In the Magistrates' Court it was submitted that these were special reasons why he should not be disqualified for the usual 12 months.

However, the Magistrate said that these were not special reasons. He was disqualified for 12 months for the alcohol charge and also fined in respect of the charges.

The appeal was on the grounds that the Magistrate had failed to give reasons for his findings, that there were special reasons in this case, and that the fines were excessive.

On appeal, Kawaley CJ held that there were special reasons, namely the nature of the vehicle being a toy scooter with a low speed, that the Appellant was just outside of his house. The risk of harm was not a special reason on the facts of this case [11].

The period of 12 months' disqualification was reduced to 3 months [13].

Kawaley CJ was not minded to interfere with the fines, as although it is easy to dismiss the idea of having insurance or a licence for a toy scooter, the law is there to ensure that road users are insured, etc. for the benefit of other road users [14].

Comment - this is a case that I am particularly familiar with, as I represented Mr Petty on appeal.

Please note that you will not get off lightly if you try to use a toy scooter instead of an ordinary scooter to ride home after while over the alcohol limit. This was a case on special circumstances where he was just outside of his house and riding a very short distance, not to go anywhere.

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