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Director of Public Prosecutions v Barreto [2019], Mobile phone use
post Wed, 31 Jul 2019 - 15:44
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Lady Justice Thirlwall:

This is an appeal by way of case stated from a decision of the Crown Court sitting at Isleworth quashing the respondent's conviction for driving a motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone, contrary to Section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Regulation 110 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. The alleged offence took place on 19th August 2017. The respondent had been convicted after a trial in the Magistrates' Court on 20th July 2018. His appeal was allowed on 15th October 2018.
In summary: the respondent was seen filming an accident scene as he drove past it. He was using the camera on his mobile phone to do so. The question in this case is whether the filming constituted a breach of the regulations. It is the appellant's case that the regulation prohibits all use of a mobile phone while driving. It is the respondent's case that the regulations are directed only to the use of phones and other devices for the purposes of interactive communication.
The answer to this appeal lies in the interpretation of legislation in the terms that Parliament chose to enact it rather than as it might be assumed to be.


It would have been much better to have drafted legislation which was less cumbersome but its effect is clear. The legislation does not prohibit all use of a mobile phone held while driving. It prohibits driving while using a mobile phone or other device for calls and other interactive communication (and holding it at some stage during that process). I do not accept Mr Mably's submission that this interpretation is incoherent. On the contrary it coincides with and reflects the purpose of the legislation.
It follows that the activity of the respondent did not come within Regulation 110 and the Crown Court was right to quash the conviction.

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post Fri, 16 Aug 2019 - 09:17
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QUOTE (typefish @ Fri, 16 Aug 2019 - 09:07) *
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Thu, 15 Aug 2019 - 23:34) *
I don't see sat-navs being affected.

What about those that are "smart" - transmit and receive data about the road ahead & map updates on the fly?

Why would Parliament prohibit them?

I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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post Fri, 16 Aug 2019 - 09:17
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post Fri, 16 Aug 2019 - 10:22
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Thu, 15 Aug 2019 - 19:40) *
QUOTE (Redivi @ Thu, 15 Aug 2019 - 12:07) *
Is listening to a voicemail an interactive communication ?

Your phone is receiving data is it not? There's also the fact that you might press a button to save the message, listen to it again and so on, so I would say it's pretty interactive.

If using your networks standard voicemail then it is almost certainly receiving the data. However there are some apps which manage voicemail and download locally. In the event one of those is in use then it won't be receiving data.
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