Commissioner of Police v Beckles

JudgeHusbands, J.,Belgrave, J.
Judgment Date22 September 1989
CourtDivisional Court (Barbados)
Docket NumberNo. 40 of 1988
Date22 September 1989

Divisional Court

Husbands, J.; Belgrave, J.

No. 40 of 1988

Commissioner of Police

Mr. O. Springer for the appellant

Mr. R. Worrell for the respondent

Criminal law - Appeal against conviction — Speeding — Unlawfully exceeding speed limit by driving motor car.


The respondent was charged before a magistrate on an information for that he on 16th March, 1987 unlawfully drove a motor car on Ashford Road at a speed of 196 kilometres per hour, a speed greater than 60 kilometres, the maximum speed specified under regulation 87(1)(c) of the Road Traffic Regulations, 1984 for a motor car on that road. He was acquitted. The appellant has appealed on the following grounds:

    The decision is erroneous in point of law. 2. The decision is against the weight of the evidence.

In his Reasons for Decision the magistrate set out the facts as follows –

“The accused Orville Beckles was charged with unlawfully driving a motor car in excess of the speed limit, on Ashford Road, St. Thomas, contrary to s. 84(1) of the Road Traffic Act, Cap. 295 and s. 87(1)(c) of the Road Traffic Regulations, 1984. He pleaded not guilty. He was unrepresented.

The Prosecution called one witness, Sergeant 211 Gregory Mayers, who gave the following evidence. On the 16th March, 1987 he was on duty along Ashford Road, St. Thomas accompanied by another police officer. They were there for the purpose of checking the speed of motor vehicles by means of a Tribar T3 newly equipped radar speed meter. This meter was tested before he commenced the speed check. He saw the accused's vehicle traveling along Ashford Road in the direction of the City. It appeared to be exceeding the speed limit. He focused the antenna of the speed meter on the accused' motor car and obtained a reading which showed that the vehicle had exceeded the speed limit. The officers pursued the accused in a police motor car and stopped him. Sergeant Mayers after identifying himself and his colleague to the accused told him that they had checked the speed of his motor car on Ashford Road and it had exceeded the speed limit. He told the accused that he was going to report him for exceeding the speed limit. He obtained the accused' name and address and told him that he may or may not be prosecuted for the offence of exceeding the speed limit. This last bit of evidence was extracted from the police officer by the prosecutor who asked him ‘Did you tell him anything else?’ The officer continued by saying that the accused replied: ‘I am trying to get for my kids and I got to get back to work.’ The officer gave evidence that at the time when the accused' vehicle was checked, no other vehicles were between the radar and the accused' vehicle. The radar is a hand held radar which has two built-in tests: one is a high speed test of 100 kilometres. It is also equipped with a resonic tuning fork which when struck and held in front of the radar gives a reading of 100 kilometres. Under cross examination the officer denied that there were two police cars present when the accused was stopped. The accused gave a short unsworn statement from the dock. He denied exceeding the speed limit.” The magistrate then referred to the Road Traffic Act, Cap. 295 and stated

‘Section 86(1) of the Road Traffic Act provides that, with a few exceptions which do not apply in this case, a person is not to be convicted of exceeding the speed limit unless: “(a) he was warned at the time the offence was committed that the question of prosecuting him for an offence under the relevant section would be taken into consideration; (b) within 19 days of the commission of the offence a summons for the offence was served on him; or (c) within 19 days of the commission of the offence a notice of the intended prosecution specifying the nature of the alleged offence and the time and place where it is alleged to have been committed was served on him or on the person in whose name the vehicle was registered as being the owner thereof at the time of the commission of the offence.’

The accused was warned in accordance with s. 86(1)(a). The further requirement was that s. 86(1)(b) or s. 86(1)(c) had to be satisfied if the accused is to be convicted.

The burden of proof is on the prosecution. No...

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