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Director of Public Prosecutions v Alderton

Drink driving - Wheels spinning but car not moving - Person who operated controls of car such that wheels spun but car did not move was driving for purposes of s 5(1)(a) Road Traffic Act 1988

5 December 2003

Appeal by prosecutor (P) by way of case stated against the decision of Chichester Magistrates' Court on 8 July 2003 to acquit the respondent (R) of driving a motor vehicle whilst the proportion of alcohol in his breath exceeded the prescribed limit contrary to s 5(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988. R had operated the controls of a car on a grass verge so that the wheels were spinning without the car moving. He produced positive breath tests at the roadside and at the police station. The magistrates' court held that he was not driving the car for the purposes of s 5(1)(a) of the Act. On appeal P argued that: (i) in reliance on R v Mcdonagh (1974) RTR 372 the test as to whether a person was driving was: (a) whether they were, in a substantial sense, controlling the movement or direction of the movement of the vehicle; and (b) whether their conduct fell within the ordinary meaning of the word 'driving'; (ii) for the wheels of the car to have spun, the engine was required to have...

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