Okech V Republic  EKLR
|Criminal Appeal 198 of 1990||19 Dec 1990|
Vinubhai Vithalbhai Patel
High Court at Kisii
Okech v Republic
Okech v Republic  eKLR
Okech v Republic
High Court, at Kisii December 19, 1990
VV Patel J
Criminal Appeal No 198 of 1990
(From original conviction and sentence of the Seenior Resident Magistrate’s Court at Homa-Bay in Traffic Case No 635 of 1990, Nderu Njuguna Esq Ag RM)
Criminal Law – dangerous driving – test to determine whether a person is guilty of dangerous driving – whether the test is objective.
Evidence – witness – evidence of a single witness – how the court should treat such evidence – when evidence of a single witness may be used to convict.
The appellant was convicted of dangerous driving. At the material time, the appellant had passengers in his car but none of them were called to testify. A single eyewitness said she saw the appellant knocking down a cyclist who died instantly. During cross-examination, the witness said that the appellant’s vehicle and the cyclist were moving in the same direction. During re-examination, however, she said the cyclist emerged from a sidetrack.
The appellant denied the charge and said that he applied his brakes but there being very little distance between his motor vehicle and the cyclist who suddenly emerged from a side road, he hit the deceased. The appellant pointed out that the trial magistrate failed to direct his mind properly to the evidence before him.
The respondent submitted that the evidence established that the manner of the appellant’s driving was dangerous in the circumstances prevailing at the time. There was clear visibility and the appellant hit the cyclist in front of him.
1. If a driver adopts a manner of driving which is dangerous to other road users in all circumstances, then on the issue of guilt it matters not whether he was deliberately reckless, careless, momentarily inattentive or even doing his competent best.
2. When a court is confronted with the testimony of a single witness in support of a charge, it has to be extremely careful in relying on that testimony without warning itself on the dangers in recording a conviction on such evidence by itself. The Court may convict on a sole testimony if the quality thereof were to be sound.
3. In the instant case the respondent did not call other witness to testify and the evidence of the only eyewitness was self-contradictory.
Regina v Evans  1 QB 412;  3 All ER 1086;  3 WLR
1457; 47 Cr App Rep 62
Traffic Act (cap 403) section 46
Mr G Maseso for the Appellant.
Mr M Bwonwonga for the Republic.