SALAWU AJIDE (APPELLANT)
INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE (RESPONDENT)
(1964) All N.L.R. 539
Division: High Court, Lagos
Date of Judgment: 2nd November, 1964
Case Number: LD/36CA/64
Before: Taylor, C.J.
The appellant was charged and convicted, in the Magistrate's Court, under Regulation 44(e), Cap. 184, Laws of Nigeria, for driving a commercial vehicle without a spare tyre. It was contended at the trial, by the appellant, that since his vehicle is a commercial vehicle and not a hackney carriage he is not required to provide a spare tyre under the said regulation.
A commercial vehicle which stands or plies for hire for the sole purpose of conveying passengers and their luggage, otherwise called an Omnibus, is not a hackney or stage carriage within the meaning of regulation 44(e), Cap. 184, Laws of Nigeria.
Appeal allowed: Conviction and sentence set aside: Verdict of not guilty and acquittal substituted.
Act referred to:-
Road Traffic Act, Cap. 184, Regulations 40, 43, 44(e) and 46.
APPEAL from the Magistrate's Court.
Taylor, C. J.:-The appellant was convicted of the offence of driving a commercial Vehicle No. LC. 4374 without a spare tyre contrary to Regulation 44(e), Cap. 184. Vol. 10 Laws of Nigeria, which reads thus:-
"A licence for a hackney or stage carriage to stand or ply for hire shall be deemed to be issued subject to the following conditions in addition to any other conditions imposed and endorsed on the licence by the licensing authority in accordance with regulation 41 or laid down by regulation 43."
It then goes on to provide for six conditions, (e) being the relevant one here and which states in effect that the vehicle must carry at least one spare inflated tyre, etc. The sole point that arose for decision by the Learned Magistrate was whether a commercial vehicle came within the meaning of the words hackney or stage carriage.
The learned Magistrate on a submission made at the close of the case for the prosecution ruled inter alia that:-
"I found it difficult to agree with the learned Counsel on his submission that the vehicle in question being merely a commercial vehicle and not a hackney carriage vehicle should not be provided with a spare tyre. I am of the view that the defendant has been brought under the appropriate section of the Regulation."
At the hearing of this appeal I asked the State Counsel for the respondent whether he was supporting the conviction and he quite rightly answered in the negative. I said I would write a short Judgment in view of the fact that the decision involved the interpretation of Regulation 44 or of the words "hackney or stage carriage." For this purpose one needs only to look at Regulations 40, 43 and 46 to see that a hackney or stage carriage, in the case of the former is a vehicle that stands or plies for hire for the conveyance of passengers, and in the case of the latter, is a vehicle that stands or plies for hire "for the sole purpose of conveying passengers and their hand luggage" otherwise called an omnibus. A commercial vehicle such as is involved in this case is not a hackney or stage carriage, and for this reason the appeal must succeed. The Judgment of and sentence passed by the learned Magistrate are hereby set aside and a verdict of not guilty and an acquittal are hereby entered. The fine of £7.10.0d. which I am made to understand has been paid by the appellant is to be refunded to him.