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Q1. Mr. J crossed a road irrespective of the red light signal.  He argued that despite the red light signal, he had carefully checked that there was no vehicle approaching.  He therefore believed that it was safe to cross the road and proceeded to do so.  Did Mr. J’s argument amount to a “reasonable excuse”, so that he was not liable under Regulation 33(6) of the Road Traffic (Traffic Control) Regulations (Cap.374G of the Laws of Hong Kong)?

The Regulation 33(6) offence is a strict-liability offence.  That is to say, once the act is done, the offence is committed; the mindset of the defendant is irrelevant.  Therefore, it does not matter what a pedestrian believes, otherwise everyone is entitled to jaywalk if he “believes” it is safe to do so.  Mr. J’s “reasonable excuse” must fail.  However, if Mr. J was directed by a police officer in uniform or a traffic warden in uniform to proceed against the red light signal, he would have the reasonable excuse to do so.