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R v Dalloway (1847) 2 Cox 273

The defendant was driving a horse and cart down a road without holding on to the reins. A child ran in front of the cart and was killed. The defendant was not liable as he would not have been able to stop the cart in time even if he had been holding the reins.

This case is authority for the point that the result must be caused by a culpable act. Here the culpable act was not holding the reins, which was not the cause of death.

 

 

The defendant was charged with gross negligence manslaughter for his involvement in an incident involving a train becoming derailed. The defendant was the foreman of some works being carried out on the track. He misread the train time-table and ordered the work to be done at a time when the train was due. In addition the lookout man was not standing at the correct distance to give an adequate warning and the driver was not paying sufficient attention to stop the train in time. The defendant argued that if the lookout man and driver were doing their job correctly the incident would not have occurred.


Held:

The defendant's conviction was upheld. The defendant's action need not be the only cause. Liability can arise provided the defendant's act was more than a minimal cause.
 
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