PF v John Scrimgeour-Wedderburn 2019/u>

Mr Wedderburn who appealed against his speeding conviction after driving 55mph in a 40mph zone has had his appeal refused after the appeal court did not agree with his argument that his notice of prosecution was invalid. The appeal made its way after the Justice of the Peace Court to the Sheriff Appeal Court and thereafter to the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh. The argument stemmed from that fact that the intention of prosecution in this road traffic matter was singed electronically by the chief constable who had retired by time this was served. This appellant argued that therefore this prosecution was not competent.

The appellant was served with the intention as per section 1 of the Road Traffic Act within the 14 days time frame but it was signed by the former chief Constable who no longer held this post. The Justice of the Peace court in Kirkcaldy and the Sheriff Appeal Court stated that it was ‘irrelevant’ who signed this and did not uphold the argument. The appellant’s argument was that this was important as it was a formal document served on the accused and it was not a trivial matter.

However, the High Court did not agree. The High Court did however recognise this was clearly an error but it had no impact on the appellant. Lord Justice General said: ‘’The notice of intended prosecution in this case came on notepaper headed ‘Police Scotland’ and bearing that institution’s official crest… All the requisite details of the alleged offence were given….The letter concluded with an electronic signature of a person who was not then the chief constable (a fact of which the appellant may, or may not, have been, aware). This was an error, but it was not one which affected the validity of the notice, which continued to meet the purpose of the statutory provision. It is not suggested that the error misled or prejudiced the appellant.”The appeal was therefore refused.