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R v Hughes [2013]


  • The Road Traffic Act 1988, section 3ZB makes it an offence of strict liability to cause death while in control of car without a valid driving licence or uninsured
  • Hughes was driving faultlessly, but was doing so deliberately without insurance
  • The victim, a driver whose ability to drive safely was severely impaired through his self-administration of drugs, collided with Hughes
  • Hughes could have done nothing to prevent the resulting death of the victim


  • Could Hughes be said to have caused the death of the victim?


  • No


  • Although the offence appears only to require a defendant to be on the road in an uninsured vehicle where as a result of that presence, death is caused, the state says that death must be caused
  • To cause death requires more than a state of affairs, therefore to be convicted under section 3ZB, Hughes’ driving must have been at fault in some way; it was not
  • Hughes was, however, guilty of driving without insurance, although no charge was bought

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