( 359 )
Present : Lyall Graut J.
SUB-INSPECTOR-OF POLICE, BADULLA v. KAMURDEEN.
761—P. 0. BADULLA, 4,S71.
Motor car—Driving recklessly and dangerously—Failing to obey directions
of Police officer—Ordinance No. 20 of 1927, ss. 65 and 57 (2).
Where the driver of a motor bus deliberately prevented a-motor cyclist from overtaking him by persistently swerving tothe right in such a manner as to endanger the safety of the bus andthe motor cycle,—
Held, that the driver was guilty of driving recklessly and in adangerous manner.
Where the driver failed to obey the verbal directions of a Policeofficer to proceed to >a named place some distance away and waituntil the officer arrived,—
Held, that he was not guilty of an offence under suction 55 ofthe Motor Car Ordinance.
The section refers primarily to the directions of a Police officerin control of traffic who gives signals, which are to be.immediately obeyed.
^ PPEAL from a conviction by the Police Magistrate of Badulla,
G. V. Ranawake, for appellant.
Schokman, G.G., for respondent.
January 23, 1930. Lyall Grant 'J.—
The . appellant in this case was charged under five counts, thefirst four being offences under the Motor Car Ordinance, the lastcount under section 272 of the Penal Code.
The appellant was acquitted on the last count and convictedon each of the first four. The first charge was that the accuseddrove a motor bus recklessly and in a dangerous manner and ata dangerous speed and thereby committed an offence punishableunder chapter 7, section 57 (2) of Ordinance No. 20 of 1927. Thesecond charge was of driving the bus negligently—an offence punish-able under section 57 (3) of the same Ordinance. The third chargewas of failing to obey the verbal directions given by a Policeofficer in the execution of his duty to stop the bus in breach ofsection 55. The fourth charge was of failing to immediately stopthe bus when, owing to the presence of the said bus on a highway,an accident occurred, causing injury to a person, contrary to section48 (1). The accused was fined Rs. 50 and in default one month'srigorous imprisonment on each of these charges the sentences to
.( 360 )
lor of Police,
run consecutively. Tlie prosecution story which is accepted by thelearned Magistrate was, that Sub-Inspector Wijesekara of theBadulla Police overtook the bus on the Bandarawela road andnoticed that three persons were standing on the footboard at theback of the bus. Going alongside he asked the driver to stop,and when he stopped asked him where he was going. He told him(accused) to stop at Dikwella junction, which appears to be hconsiderable distance along the road, for the purpose of countingthe passengers. The Inspector says he did this because he wasalone and he wished to get the Town Arachchi of Dikwella as awitness.
The bus went ahead but did not stop at the junction and wentdown a side road.
The Inspector then blew his horn several times to attract thedriver’s attention and motioned the conductor to stop. The driverdid not stop and the conductor jeered at the Inspector. TheInspector made several 'efforts to overtake the bus, which stoppedonce or twice, but apparently was unable to do so. He says thatat several places where there was room he blew his horn and triedto overtake, but the accused always swerved to the light andprevented it.
On one of these occasions the right foot-rest of the bicycle struckagainst a milestone and lnoke, and the bicycle went into the drain.The Inspector was thrown off the bicycle and sustained injuries.The Inspector says that the driver saw him fall into the drain,stopped, looked back, and drove on again.
The complainant was medically examined ; he had a slightinjury on the nose and on the left thumb.
There is independent evidence that at the spot where the collisionoccurred the road was sufficiently wide for two vehicles to pass.
The Magistrate has not found that the bus was driven at adangerous speed, and there is in fact no evidence to support .thispart of the first charge. On the Inspector’s evidence, which hasbeen accepted, I think the Magistrate was justified in finding thatthe bus was driven recklessly and in a dangerous manner. Theevidence shows that the driver must have been aware that theInspector was attempting to overtake him and that he deliberatelyprevented him from doing so by swerving to the right as soon asthe Inspector came abreast of him. Such conduct seems to me-tobe reckless in the sense that it is regardless of consequences, and itis also dangerous as is shown by the fact that the Inspector wastwice thrown into the ditch.
I do not think I should be justified in taking a different view ofthe evidence from that taken by the Magistrate, and accordinglythe appeal from the conviction on the first charge must be dismissed.
( 361 )
The driver was also convicted of driving the bus negligently, andthe reasons given by the Magistrate are, that on the accused sown evidence he drove the bus negligently.
The learned Magistrate has however already held that the accuseddrove recklessly and dangerously by persistently swerving to theright in a maimer endangering the safety of his own bus and of thefollowing motor cycle. He has therefore, I think, held tacts to beproved which are entirely inconsistent with his finding on thesecond charge. He says above that the accused’s own account ofthe affair is entirely incredible. I think the Magistrate was inerror when he convicted under the second charge and CrownCounsel did not wish to support the conviction on this' count. Theappeal to this extent therefore is allowed.
This third charge was, failing to obey verbal directions. Theverbal directions were for the bus to stop at a named place somedistance along the road. Section 55 reads “ the driver of a motorcar shall obey all directions whether verbal or by signals given bya Police officer in the execution of his duty to stop the car, or tomake it slow down, or to pass on any indicated line of traffic ” andthe side note is “ signals by Police officer to be obeyed. ” It isclear that this section refers primarily to Police officers in controlof traffic, who give signals which are to be immediately obeyed.It seems to me that it is considerably stretching the section to saythat it refers to directions given to the driver of a stationary vehicleto proceed to a certain spot some miles away and there to stopand wait for the Police officer to arrive. I am not satisfied that thesection applies to such a case as Wf have before us and accordinglythe conviction on .this count is quashed. In regard to the lastcharge, the evidence is that when the Inspector was thrown of hisbicycle the accused stopped and then drove on again. Section 48says: “ if owing to the presence of a motor car on a high way anyaccident occurs causing injury to any person, animal, or property,then the driver of the car shall immediately stop the car. ” The-Inspector says that he (accused) saw him fall into the drain, stoppedlooked back, and drove on again.
Beading the section as a whole I think its .provisions were notcomplied with by the accused^ Sub-section (1) must be read inconjunction with the rest of the section. . The evidence shows thatthe driver did not stop long enough to allow the person injured orany one else to take his name and address, or give him an opportunityof obtaining the information or doing the matters referred to inthe section. Accordingly I do not propose to interfere with the;conviction on this count.
tor of Police,BaduUev.
SUB-INSPECTOR OF POLICE, BADULLA v. KAMURDEEN