Culpable and Reckless Conduct, Paisley Sheriff Court, 9 May 2018, client found Not Guilty
Our client, the owner and operator of a party bus, was charged with culpable and reckless conduct. There was also an alternative charge of using a vehicle in a dangerous condition. The basis of the alternative charge was an allegation that the door of the bus was faulty.
The circumstances were that our client and his driver collected a hen party of 15 in Elderslie, Renfrewshire and driving them to Glasgow. The members of the party were in high spirits and had already been drinking. Shortly after leaving Elderslie, a passenger got up to dance, lost hr balance, fell against the door of the bus and crashed onto the roadside.
Our client was charged with culpable and reckless conduct at Paisley Sheriff Court for “allowing passengers who were under the influence of alcohol to stand and dance in the aisle of the bus whilst it was in motion”. Originally the charge also included an allegation of doing so while the door of the bus was faulty. Our firm obtained an expert report which proved conclusively that the door was not faulty and this was accepted by the Crown. Notwithstanding this, the Crown proceeded with the charge on the basis that our client should not have allowed women to dance – on his party bus. Our client had denied allowing this and there was signage on the bus instructing passengers to sit down. It was also accepted that there were enough seats for everyone and that no one was “forced” to stand or dance.
The standard of recklessness required in a charge of this nature is extremely high and, in our opinion, the Crown’s evidence did not come close to reaching this standard. We made a legal submission to that effect. After taking a few days to consider his verdict, the Sheriff returned and found our client had no case to answer and was therefore Not Guilty.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the case received a significant amount of attention in the national press:
This case was handled by Steven Farmer. The trial was heard on 4th May 2018 and the verdict returned on 9th May 2018.