HMA v Jacqueline Shuttleton 2019

The High Court has confirmed that CCTV, where it’s provenance is established, can corroborate the actus reus of an offence. This has followed an appeal raised at the Sheriff Appeal Court. This case concerned Ms Shuttleton, who was found guilty a breach of section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, a careless driving offence.

However, Ms Shuttleton appealed her conviction on the basis that the Justice at the original trial had erred in admitting evidence contained on CCTV footage. Ms Shuttleton was said to be in the wrong lane blocking a duel carriage way, this was after a collision with another vehicle which was caught on CCTV. The footage had shown Ms Shuttleton’s vehicle indicating left before making a sharp right turn and causing a collision. This footage was lodged by the Crown. The appellants’ defence solicitor objected to the CCTV being shown during the trial and stated the provenance of the video had not been proven but the Justice did not agree with this argument and allowed this to be played. The Sheriff Appeal court referred the matter to the High Court as they considered this a novel matter.

The High Court considered the case of Gubinas that stated that “a corroborated case could be established on the basis of a single piece of CCTV alone”, but this was when the provenance of the footage is properly established. The High court concluded with Lord Justice Clerk stating: “In my opinion it is clear from Gubinas that as long as the provenance of the recording is proved by corroborated evidence, or otherwise properly established, the content of the recording becomes proof of fact of the events shown thereon.

This principle applies equally to identification, but there is one major difference: proof of identification necessarily relies upon comparison. For that reason alone, where a photograph is used for comparison purposes, the provenance of the photograph must also be established.” It was therefore concluded by Lady Dorrian that ”in these circumstances the fact finder would be entitled to find the actus reus established from his own viewing of the footage.” The Appeal was therefore refused.