HMA v Peter Clotman 2018

Peter Clotman was found guilty of dangerous driving in October 2017 after Trial at Dunoon Sheriff Court in the west of Scotland. It was claimed that he overtook three cars at excessive speed while approaching a hill, causing a driver on the other side of the road to slam on his brakes. However, the appellant argued that there was insufficient evidence to corroborate his admission that he was the driver of that car.

Furthermore, he argued that the warning he received from police that he was to be prosecuted was not given “at the time the offence was committed”. However the appeal court rejected the argument and stated that he was seen near the scene shortly after the offence which was all the corroboration that was necessary and also that the Trial sheriff was entitled in his position to conclude that the warning given when he was cautioned and charged almost two hours after the incident was “at the time of the offence”.

The appeal court observed that “very little” was required to corroborate the appellant’s admission to police. Appeal Sheriff Braid said: “The appellant was found in the Oakbank Hotel in the proximity of the car which was parked outside, a short time after the incident.

Indeed it was the presence of the car outside the hotel which alerted the police to the appellant’s presence within. That happened soon enough after the incident, and close enough to it – we are not given distances in the stated case, but we do know that it was in the general vicinity from the fact that the police were on their way back from their visit to the appellant’s previous home address – that it is capable of providing the necessary corroboration.

That would provide a sufficiency of evidence in itself, but corroboration can also be found in the fact that the registered keeper of the car was the appellant’s wife, a close family member.” In relation to the second matter the appeal court argued that they could not criticise the sheriff for deciding that it was sufficient to caution the accused and there was no leave to appeal on this point.