Unlicensed drivers blame ruling

Court of Appeal judges have ruled that if a fatality is caused by a motorist who has been disqualified or does not have a valid licence or insurance, then they are responsible for the death, regardless of the circumstances of the accident.

An unlicensed driver was sent to prison following an incident in which he hit a pedestrian who walked out in front of his vehicle, which was not insured. The driver appealed against the conviction, but it was upheld by three judges sitting in London, who said "blameworthy conduct was not necessary".

It had been asked of Lord Justice Thomas, and his peers Judge James Wadsworth QC and Mr Justice Silber, that they rule the crime of causing death by driving when unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured could not be committed "without some fault or other blameworthy conduct" on a motorist's part.

In their findings, the judges said that it was "sufficient" that the driving had been "a" cause of the death - one that was more than "minute and negligible", and that blameworthy conduct was not necessary.

The unsuccessful appeal was brought by bar manager Jason John Williams, 39, from Swansea, who was tried at Swansea Crown Court on a single count of causing death by driving without insurance and without a licence.

Lord Justice Thomas said the prosecution accepted that "no fault, carelessness or lack of consideration in driving can be attributed to the appellant".

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