People (Attorney General) v Dixon

CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal
Judgment Date01 January 1952
Date01 January 1952
C. C. A.
The People (Attorney General)

Dangerous driving -Charge to jury - Question by jury - Speed -Evidence of speed - Evidence capable of two constructions - Failure of trial Judge to direct jury on evidence relating to alternative allege act of negligence - Degree of negligence necessary to constitute offence of manslaughter - Sufficiency of charge to jury.

The accused was indicted for the manslaughter of E.T., or in the alternative for dangerous driving. E.T. was killed as a result of a collision between a lorry driven by the accused and a motor omnibus. The collision was attributed by the prosecution to either of two causes: (a) an attempt to pass out a row of cars which had been travelling in front of him and had come to a standstill at a road junction or (b) an attempt by the accused to swing to his right to avoid colliding with the car in front of him while travelling at so fast a speed that he could not control his lorry. After the jury had retired for some time, the foreman asked the trial Judge for a direction concerning the accused's alleged negligence in attempting to pass the stationary cars in terms showing that a number of jurors were not satisfied that the accused had, in fact, intended to pass those cars. The trial Judge directed them that they must either acquit the accused on that ground or disagree, and referred them to the question of excessive speed without refreshing their minds either on the evidence concerning the accused's speed or on the...

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