New Judgment: R v Hughes  UKSC 56
31 Wednesday Jul 2013
On appeal from:  EWCA Crim 1508.
The appellant was involved in a traffic accident that resulted in the death of the other driver. It was accepted by the prosecution that the appellant was in no way at fault for the accident and could not have done anything to prevent it. He was, however, prosecuted under the Road Traffic Act 1988, s 3ZB (causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers) as he had neither a licence nor was insured. Held: unanimously allowing the appeal, if the Court of Appeal were correct, then the appellant would be criminally responsible for the other driver’s death despite not being at fault at all for the collision. In addition, if any of the appellant’s family had died he would also be criminally responsible for their deaths despite the fact that if the other driver had survived he would have been guilty of causing death by, at the very least, careless driving when unfit to drive through drugs. The wording of s 3ZB imported the concept of causation. The appellant’s driving was not, in law, a cause.