Court name
High Court of Tanzania

Republic vs Samwel Shepua () [1983] TZHC 32 (05 August 1983);

Law report citations
1984 TLR 148 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1983] TZHC 32

  F Lugakingira, J.: In this case the accused was charged on two counts under the Road Traffic Act, 1973.  The first count alleged causing bodily injury through dangerous driving and was laid under ss. 42 (1)(b) and 63(2) (b).  The second count alleged failure to report an accident c/ss 57 (2) (b) and   G 63 (2) (d).  The accused was on both counts convicted on his own pleas of guilty and fined accordingly.  I was not happy with some features of the case and admitted it to revision.
The first count was laid under s. 42 (1) (b) but, as the framing of the provision indicates, it has   H nothing to do with dangerous driving in which bodily injury is caused.  It is concerned only with dangerous driving per se.  Where bodily injury is in fact caused as a result of dangerous driving the appropriate provision is s. 40 (1) and the penalty provision is s. 63 (2) (a).  Further, whether a person   I is convicted under s. 42 or s. 40 the law requires that his driving licence shall be cancelled and the person shall be disqualified from obtaining any driving licence for a period of not less than three years, unless

for special reasons the court thinks it fit to order otherwise.  It seems, however, that the court's  A discretion as regards cancellation or suspension of the licence is exercisable only as to the period of such cancellation or suspension but cannot be exercised to dispense with cancellation or suspension altogether.  It is only with regard to disqualification that the court may elect to make no order.  There was no order of cancellation or disqualification in this case and there was no reference  B to these matters.  But while bringing these irregularities to the attention of the learned trial magistrate, I do not propose to make any order or issue any directions having regard to the simple and even the unknown facts of the case as a whole.
It was also noted that in mitigation the accused said that he did not intend to commit the offence but  C that it was purely accidental.  Whether that meant that he did not intend to drive dangerously or to cause injury, I do not know; but probably he meant both.  Well, all accidents are, I suppose, accidental.  I agree with Mr. Lyimo that in a charge of causing bodly injury through dangerous  D driving the law does not look to the driver's mind but it looks to his style, having regard to the circumstances obtaining at the time.  It is the fact of dangerous driving which is the basis of liability.  Once it is established that on the facts and circumstances of the case the driver's style was uncalled  E for, he cannot escape the consequences of that style.  His culpability lies in the abuse or non-use of his talents and not on any wish or non-wish in his mind.  I am therefore of the view that the mitigation in this case did not vitiate the plea.
With regard to the second count the facts were that the accused reported the accident five days  F after it had occurred.  My problem was whether he could have reported it earlier since there was no indication as to how far the scene of accident was from the nearest police station.  But after studying s. 57 (2) (b) carefully, it seems that the problem does not arise. The provision states that in the case  G of an accident such as the accused was involved in the driver has to report the same "as soon as reasonably practicable and in any case not later than twelve hours" after the time it occurred, unless he is incapable of doing so by reason of his own injuries. Having regard to the words I have emphasised, it is evident that the provision is strict and leaves no room for manoeuvre save where  H the driver is physically incapacitated. The accused did not allege such incapacitation; that being the case his conviction was justified in law. All in all, I make no orders.
Conviction upheld. I