Delancey v R

CourtCourt of Appeal (Bahamas)
JudgeHogan, J.A.
Judgment Date16 March 1973
Neutral CitationBS 1973 CA 1
Date16 March 1973
Docket NumberNo 36 of 1972

Court of Appeal

Bourke, P.; Archer, J.A.; Hogan, J.A.

No 36 of 1972


Appellant in person.

Janet Bostwick for the Crown.

Criminal Law - Trial

Hogan, J.A.

On the afternoon of 14 February 1972, at the Eight Mile Rock Road, Grand Bahama, multiple collisions occurred as a result of which two people died and a number of others were injured. A large yellow American car, no SD632, collided with a lamp post which was 9 feet 5 inches from the southern edge of the road. Some 40 feet 10 inches further west, another large American car no 947, painted green, had come into contact with a small wooden shop, standing 17 inches from the southern end of the road, and had pushed the shop 5 feet 10 inches off its cement foundation. The dead, a young police constable and a baby of some five months, were passengers in the car no SD632. The car had to be straightened out by two wrecking vehicles before the constable could be released. He was then dead. The baby died some days later from meningitis as a result of injury to its skull. The road is a main road in a densely populated residential and commercial area. As a result of the accident or accidents two people were charged with killing in the course of dangerous driving; the appellant, the driver of car no SD632 and Miss Mae King, a young learner driver who was at the wheel of car no 947. She was acquitted and the appellant was convicted of the offence charged. Against that conviction he appeals.


At the trial, the prosecution witnesses gave somewhat differing accounts of what had occurred. Mr Edwards the owner of car no 947, a Rebel Rambler, who was seated beside Miss King and supervising her driving, said, after objection, that at about 5.50 pm on the Fishing Hole Road, his car was overtaken in a dangerous manner by the appellant's car, which then proceeded to halt for an inordinate length of time at the junction of the Eight Mile Rock Road; so much so that Mr. Edwards got out of his car and shouted to the driver in front ‘What is the matter’, whereupon the passengers in the back seat of the other car looked behind and laughed. The other car, he said, eventually pulled away from the junction at about 5 miles per hour, turned right into the Eight Mile Rock Road and continued at about 5 miles per hour until it reached a Mr. Robinson's shop when it pulled to the left side of the road. Thereupon, according to Mr. Edwards, he instructed Miss King to pull around the other car and when she did so and got abreast of the other car the latter shot back onto the road and hit Mr Edwards’ car, whereupon Miss King panicked, letting go of the steering wheel and starting to scream; he then tried to steer the car but saw an approaching vehicle. He continued:

‘While I tried to steer my car the S.D. car kept hitting my car-my car got out of control sandwiched between the oncoming vehicle. When my car got out of control, the S.D. car was in front of my car. I saw the S.D. car go into a skid at this time, I hit the windshield of my car with my head. I then realized that my car came to a stop beside a shop.’


He estimated the speed of the two cars when they were banging together as 30-35 miles per hour and said that the approaching bus was about 300 feet away when his car started to overtake the other.


In cross-examination he increased the joint speed to 30-40 miles per hour and said Miss King tried to get to the left hand side of the road. He reiterated that the other car was in front of his car when the first impact occurred.


Other passengers in car 947 gave a generally similar account except that one, Miss Collie, who was in the back seat, said that the appellant drove normally on the Eight Mile Rock Road but kept zig-zagging after he had cut out and hit Miss King's car and that the right bumper of the appellant's car kept on hitting Miss King's car. She denied however that Mr. Smith had got out of his car at the previous road junction and in course of cross-examination said ‘I started to scream when I realised that the approaching car was on us’.


Except that they asserted the appellant was driving normally, the passengers in his car gave an account which coincided in many respects with the evidence just narrated but they claimed that Miss King's attempt to overtake was made dangerous by the oncoming traffic and it was the third bang from “her car on the rear of the appellant's which caused it to turn into the lamp post.


There was police evidence that the damage to Miss King's car was in front and there were no scratches on the side, that the speed limit on the road was 20 miles per hour, and in the estimation of one police witness, the two cars must have been traveling at about 60-70 miles per hour judging by the results of their impact with the lamp post and the shop respectively.



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