HC Deb 31 December 1912 vol 46 cc190-1

asked the Home Secretary if he is now able to state the results of his inquiry into the case of a motorist who was fined £10 in October last by the Blackpool magistrates for reckless driving, whereby a woman was killed; and what further action, if any, it is proposed to take?


I have made inquiry, and find that Thomas Outwin was convicted by the Blackpool justices of driving a motor car in a manner dangerous to the public, and was fined £10 and disqualified for holding a licence for two years from the date of the conviction. The defendant had been five times previously convicted of driving motor cars and motor cycles to the danger of the public, and five times of other offences in connection with motor cars. In the case now in question, it appeared from the evidence that he drove down the promenade at Blackpool at a speed of from sixteen to twenty miles an hour at a time of night when the places of amusement were discharging their audiences and the roadway was crowded with people. Having regard to all the circumstances, the sentence appeared to me to be so inadequate to the offence that I felt it my duty to consult the Director of Public Prosecutions as to the desirability of taking further proceedings against Outwin for the manslaughter of the woman who was killed by his car. But in view of the time that had elapsed since the offence was committed and of the fact that it had already been twice investigated by a Court of Law, I came somewhat reluctantly to the conclusion that further criminal proceedings would scarcely be justified. I do not think that there is any necessity for legislation to increase penalties. A person convicted for the second time of dangerous driving can be sentenced to three months' imprisonment without the option of a fine, and in the event of his causing the death of any person he is, of course, liable to prosecution for manslaughter. These powers, if administered with firmness and discretion, should, in my opinion, be sufficient for the protection of the public; and I have recently issued a circular to justices calling their attention, among other things, to the importance of imposing an adequate punishment for serious offences, such as dangerous driving. The fine imposed on Outwin was, in my judgment, an altogether inadequate penalty.

Captain MURRAY

Is it not very difficult to obtain convictions for reckless driving?


It depends entirely upon the facts of the case.