C G B Nicholson, QC
OPINION OF THE COURT
delivered eo die by
THE RT. HON. LORD MARNOCH
ALEXANDER JAMES BREWSTER
PROCURATOR FISCAL, INVERNESS
Act: McKenzie; Drummond Miller
Alt: Murphy, QC, AD, Crown Agent
26 February 2004 The appellant was convicted of a charge that on 21 March 2002 on the A96 Inverness to Aberdeen road at Balloch Junction he drove a mechanically propelled vehicle, namely a motor van, without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road and he allowed the vehicle being towed by him to move from side to side hitting the verge and going up to the centre line of the road: all contrary to the Road Traffic Act 1988, section 3 as amended.  The vehicle being driven by the appellant was a breakdown vehicle and the vehicle being towed by him had its own driver in the form of a Mr Hastings. The method of towing consisted of a single rigid towbar stretching between the centre rear of the towing vehicle and a towing eye in the front offside bumper of the towed vehicle. The evidence was, and the sheriff finds, that this method of towing was liable to cause some amount of swaying in the towed vehicle which could, however, be counteracted to some extent by the driver of the towed vehicle, Mr Hastings. The essential Findings in Fact on this matter are numbers 13-16 inclusive in the Stated Case which are in the following terms:
"13. The appellant ought to have adopted a method of towing which used an A-frame so called because the frame resembles the capital letter "A". The A-frame is a metal frame like an isosceles triangle whose apex is attached to the towing bracket at the rear centre of the towing vehicle and whose base at each side is attached to the front nearside and front offside. This results in a straight pull by the towing vehicle and not an angled pull as in the method adopted by the appellant.
14. Use of an A-frame would have prevented the swaying from side to side of the towed vehicle. Some of the swaying of the towed vehicle may have been caused by Mr Hastings' hopeless efforts to control his car as it was being towed by the recovery vehicle driven by the appellant.
15. The cause of the towed vehicle swaying from side to side was to a great extent the method of towing adopted by the appellant. Some of the swaying was probably caused by the ineffectual efforts of Mr Hastings to control the swaying of his car by using the steering wheel of his vehicle.
16. The appellant was in a substantial sense controlling the movement and the direction of the unit consisting of the towing vehicle joined to the towed vehicle by a rigid metal towbar."