APPEAL COURT, HIGH COURT OF JUSTICIARY
OPINION OF THE COURT
THE HONOURABLE LORD PROSSER
APPEAL BY STATED CASE
SCOTT ALEXANDER McGREGOR
PROCURATOR FISCAL, PAISLEY
Appellant: A. Ogg, Solicitor-Advocate; Allan McDougall & Co
Respondent: Menzies Q.C. A.D.; Crown Agent
8 June 1999
This is an appeal by way of stated case by Scott McGregor. He appeared in the District Court at Paisley on 4 August 1998 when he was convicted of an offence under the Renfrewshire Council Byelaws Prohibiting the Consumption of Alcoholic Liquor in Designated Places 1997. The charge referred also to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, Sections 201 and 202 and 203.
The Byelaws in question were plainly essential to the Crown case. What the Crown did was to produce a copy of the Byelaws. It is not disputed that they did that. What is submitted is that producing a copy of the Byelaws did not constitute proof of the Byelaws.
In dealing with the matter the Justice refers to Section 279 and Schedule 8 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995. It was submitted that that was the wrong provision and that the relevant provision, as the Crown had appreciated, was Section 279A(3). There having been a misdirection, the matter was really therefore one for us to consider de novo. It was accepted that Section 279A(3), if it stood alone, would mean that proof of the Byelaw could be achieved simply by producing a copy as was done in this case. We do not need to go into the full terms of Section 279A(3). What was submitted was that that sub-section had to be read along with sub-section (6) of the same section. Sub-section (6) says that the provisions of this section are in addition to, and not in derogation of, any powers of proving documents conferred by statute of existing at common law.
We were referred, with that provision, to the terms of Section 204 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. That provision allows for a more complicated way of proving orders such as a Byelaw. The submission was that the simpler procedure provided by Section 279A(3) of the 1995 Act derogated from the power under Section 204 of the 1973 Act. It certainly provides a simpler way of proving a Byelaw and it may be that with that simpler mechanism available it would not normally, or perhaps even ever, be necessary to invoke the more complicated procedures under the 1973 Act. Nonetheless, we cannot see how the simpler provisions of the later Act can be said to "derogate" from the powers of the earlier Act. It was accepted that the earlier Act still expressed sound law as it stood notwithstanding the later provisions and that being so, we can see no derogation from the powers conferred by that earlier Act. What has been done appears to be the provision of a simpler machinery, involving no derogation from the earlier powers.
It is true, in a sense, taking both together, that the law now makes a lesser requirement of those wishing to prove such documents but that does not, in our view, constitute a derogation from any powers conferred in the earlier statute. In these circumstances the appeal fails. The matter coming before us de novo it is not necessary to answer the questions. We hold that the conviction was good.