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British Justice ?

stelviostelvio Posts: 1,422
edited June 2007 in Campaign

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  • HowardcpHowardcp Posts: 1,084
    The really amazing thing is not the fine but the 'Not guilty to dangerous driving' verdict, but that sort of thing is what all too often happens when a jury of 12 motorists, all overseen by another motorist in a wig, sit in judgement on such cases. I have a feeling that the victim was a motorcyclist was not entirely unrelated to the verdict which was brought in.
  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    On reading the story, my immediate reaction is what was different from this person's actions and that of the driver who was jailed after the train crash at Great Eck ( Think that was the place) where he fell asleep at the wheel and was convicted of death by dangerous driving and given several years prison.

    Conversely- it must be borne in mind that we only have a few paragraphs of a much bigger story to go on here

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  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Judge Christoper Vosper said a ban and a financial penalty were all that were open to him for an offence of careless driving.

    Judge Vosper said he appreciated that Mr Freeman's family would view the penalties as inadequate, but no punishment could make up for their loss.
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">


    sounds like the Judge wasn't too impressed with the verdict either

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  • rgismergisme Posts: 1,598
    Reacting to the verdict, his widow, Alexandra, said: "Andrew Drage drove when he was so tired he fell asleep at the wheel. He could have stopped but chose not to. "

    Quite. And what is it if it is not 'dangerous driving' to continue to drive when you are too tired to stay awake, and you know it? He even admitted he'd nodded off a few minutes before to the incident. The verdict appears perverse. But as someone else said, he was a motorist tried by other drivers.
  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by rgisme</i>

    Reacting to the verdict, his widow, Alexandra, said: "Andrew Drage drove when he was so tired he fell asleep at the wheel. He could have stopped but chose not to. "

    Quite. <b>And what is it if it is not 'dangerous driving' to continue to drive when you are too tired to stay awake, and you know it?</b> He even admitted he'd nodded off a few minutes before to the incident. The verdict appears perverse. But as someone else said, he was a motorist tried by other drivers.
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">


    You are applying a dictionary definition of dangerous rather than the legal definition it would appear

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  • rgismergisme Posts: 1,598
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by spen666</i>

    You are applying a dictionary definition of dangerous rather than the legal definition it would appear
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
    It would appear the jury thought so, but I don't know that there's such a gap between the two:

    <i>"Far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous"</i>

    No doubt the jury were careful, law abiding motorists who've found themselves nodding off at the wheel occasionally but luckily managed to avoid accidents - doesn't mean you should stop or are 'dangerous' if you continue - could happen to anyone, couldn't it?
  • chuckleschuckles Posts: 44
    I don't think that they consider the fact that there was a death, this being 'irrelevant'.


    Chuckles
    Chuckles
  • Again, a license to kill. Many motorists think that the offence of 'getting in my way' exists.

    Unfortunately, the police and courts support them in this misguided belief
  • HowardcpHowardcp Posts: 1,084
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by spen666</i> You are applying a dictionary definition of dangerous rather than the legal definition it would appear <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Quite so- the legal definition of 'dangerous' driving is carefully framed so as to exclude most examples of dangerous driving! Even so, I am surprised that the jury decided that this was not dangerous driving, even going by the legal definition of the term.

    <i>"The "less" offence of "careless driving"- introduced On the insistence of the motor interests to provide a part-escape for offenders- should be abolished, in the existing circumstances careless driving is of course always also dangerous driving."</i>

    J.S. Dean Murder Most Foul: a study of the road deaths problem (1947).
  • Tourist TonyTourist Tony Posts: 8,628
    Did he not accelerate out of his tiredness?

    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
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  • IMHO it is not the punishment that is wrong but the verdict. He was (in the legal and literal sense) guilty of dangerous driving. Driving whilst asleep clearly falls "Far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous". It was dangerous driving in both senses.

    The sentence was correct for the offence he was found guilty of (in the legal sense), but the jurors should be ashamed that they think driving while asleep is only careless.

    Cars don't kill people.
    Motorists do.

    Cars don\'t kill people.
    Motorists do.
  • cuddy duckcuddy duck Posts: 3,211
    .. so even being in control of a moving vehicle while unconscious doesn't constitute "dangerous driving"?

    <font size="1"><font color="teal">There are 9 million bicycles in Beijing. But no cyclists: that's one thing we can be sure of....</font id="teal"></font id="size1">
    <font size="1"><font color="teal">There are 9 million bicycles in Beijing. But no cyclists: that\'s one thing we can be sure of....</font id="teal"></font id="size1">
  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Howard</i>

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by spen666</i> You are applying a dictionary definition of dangerous rather than the legal definition it would appear <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Quite so- the legal definition of 'dangerous' driving is carefully framed so as to exclude most examples of dangerous driving! Even so, I am surprised that the jury decided that this was not dangerous driving, even going by the legal definition of the term.

    <i>"The "less" offence of "careless driving"- introduced On the insistence of the motor interests to provide a part-escape for offenders- should be abolished, in the existing circumstances careless driving is of course always also dangerous driving."</i>

    J.S. Dean Murder Most Foul: a study of the road deaths problem (1947).







    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">


    Howard- I do not know what you are trying to prove with that quote, but the offence of dangerous driving is a recent invention ie from the Road Traffic Act 1988.

    The quote you use is therefore irrelevant to the debate over dangerous driving.

    Prior to the coming into force of the 1988 Act - the nearest offence was Reckless Driving which had a different, narrower meaning

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  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by psychiatricblues</i>

    IMHO it is not the punishment that is wrong but the verdict. He was (in the legal and literal sense) guilty of dangerous driving. Driving whilst asleep clearly falls "Far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous". It was dangerous driving in both senses.

    The sentence was correct for the offence he was found guilty of (in the legal sense), but the jurors should be ashamed that they think driving while asleep is only careless.

    Cars don't kill people.
    Motorists do.
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">


    Very well said that person

    22nd March can't come soon enough, neither can 26th May 2007

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  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by cuddy duck</i>

    .. so even being in control of a moving vehicle while unconscious doesn't constitute "dangerous driving"?

    <font size="1"><font color="teal">There are 9 million bicycles in Beijing. But no cyclists: that's one thing we can be sure of....</font id="teal"></font id="size1">
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    You open up a whole can of worms with that remark- defences of automatism etc spring to mind.


    The verdict seems a peverse one, but the decision of the jury to acquit is binding on the judge in sentencing this killer

    22nd March can't come soon enough, neither can 26th May 2007

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  • HowardcpHowardcp Posts: 1,084
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by spen666</i>

    Howard- I do not know what you are trying to prove with that quote, but the offence of dangerous driving is a recent invention ie from the Road Traffic Act 1988.

    The quote you use is therefore irrelevant to the debate over dangerous driving.

    Prior to the coming into force of the 1988 Act - the nearest offence was Reckless Driving which had a different, narrower meaning <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
    And when was the offence of 'Reckless Driving' brought in exactly? Before the offence of 'Reckless' driving was brought in those guilty of the worst examples of dangerous driving were charged with, suprisingly enough, 'Dangerous driving'! As Nichols Atkinson, a traffic law specialist who has worked for RoadPeace once said

    <i>'We have drifted from dangerous and reckless, to reckless, back to dangerous... and have surely lost sight of the central feature which is one of a violent death.'</i>

    I am also surprised that your great legal brain cannot grasp the timeless logic contained in that quote from Dean...
  • rgismergisme Posts: 1,598
    "careless is also always dangerous".. in a literal sense, perhaps, but there is also a question of degree, and in the specific framework of road traffic offences the words 'careless' and 'dangerous' are used as a term of art; the differences of degree are important. 'Careless' is merely 'below' the standard of a careful and competent driver'; 'dangerous' is 'far below'.

    As you know, courts do not consider a death the central feature of either charge. They are convicting, if they do, and sentencing, on the behaviour not the consequences.
  • HowardcpHowardcp Posts: 1,084
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by rgisme</i>

    "careless is also always dangerous".. in a literal sense, perhaps, but there is also a question of degree <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    So scrap the 'careless' charge and just have a dangerous driving charge, allowing the court to decide the appropriate penalties according to the circumstances of the case.
  • It seems we become distracted by dictionaries, bewildered by nomenclature. Although providing input into the way our laws are structured is vital to justice, it seems we are losing sight of the initial question.

    Dangerous?

    In order to provide an answer to that question I have to look back at a time when I was in a similar position to the offender.
    I spent 2 days being violently ill in the USA, then recovered enough to get on the plan home to gatwick. The flight was turbulent and the atmosphere tense. My plans to sleep vanished.
    I then got behind the wheel of my car and began the journey home, a violent thunderstorm providing much needed mental stimulation.
    Then the weather and traffic cleared, and I found myself on a long wide boring road in the pleasant sunshine, with my wife snoring gently beside me.I began to drift off, and at this point my brain started to scream 'danger!!!'
    I realised I was in severe trouble and that almost certain death was approaching rapidly unless I did something about it.
    It was 25 miles to the first services, and to this day I wonder what I must have looked like to other motorists as I started singing loudly to keep myself awake. I made to to the services where 8 cans of red bull and four expressos got me back to the safety zone. All drunk in the space of 15 minutes.

    To condense all this: Having your consciousness forcibly suppress isn't nice, and the sense of basic primal danger was intense.
  • HowardcpHowardcp Posts: 1,084
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Eternal_headwind</i>

    In order to provide an answer to that question I have to look back at a time when I was in a similar position to the offender. <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    So despite lacking sleep for two days you were still determined to drive home once your flight landed? Knowing you had missed so much sleep why didn't you to find a hotel room or at least grab a few hours sleep before setting off in a quite corner somewhere or even in back of the car whilst it was still parked up? Do you really think that caffeine is a satisfactory substitute for sleep? Your actions sound very much like those of that driver who killed Zak Carr...
  • At the time I thought I was ok. I was wrong. The point being that I didn't try to continue once I realised the danger.

    The whole point of my earlier post is to illustrate that the jury had a concept of danger, and didn't feel that the circumstances matched that definition.

    I feel the jury was wrong, and that their definition of danger has been artificially raised by the 'car is a constitutional right' culture we seem to have.

    I am not trying to pretend my actions were squeaky clean, quite the opposite. I gave the story to illustrate that at that point I was aware of a very serious mistake that required immediate action. The caffeine did work, as did other measures.
  • Tourist TonyTourist Tony Posts: 8,628
    The important thing in the last post is the first two sentences.
    You did wrong. You understand that. You were lucky. You are in no way trying to justify it.
    I assume it is not something you will ever do again. Result.
    And you didn't "cure" it by accelerating....



    If that sounds patronising, it's not meant to.

    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=3 ... =3244&v=5K
  • Tourist Tony, you are quite correct. I will never again behave in that fashion. I only ever wanted my first post to be recognised as a confession of wrongdoing, and the reason I felt it relevant to this thread was simply to illustrate that there was a period of realisation. I do not believe that the majority of these incidents are caused by the first symptoms of exhaustion. I think they are caused by drivers getting into this state and still refusing to stop.

    I made my earlier comment about getting bogged down with semantics because this case illustrates that ultimately justice was a human decision. The Judge sounded unhappy with the verdict but could do nothing more than the law allowed. The jury looked at the offender and said 'not guilty of being dangerous'
    I think it is the social perception we must challenge.
  • Tourist TonyTourist Tony Posts: 8,628
    Indeed.

    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=3 ... =3244&v=5K
  • So any ideas on how to begin that challenge?
  • nortones2nortones2 Posts: 208
    Interesting debate from TT and EH! To change the zeitgeist requires signals and initiative. 1. that the police are made to have road safety as a priority. 2. That the juries are informed, to eradicate prejudice in favour of the perpetrator (not just motoring btw!). 3. The victims have a voice on CPS strategy, where they like to make their own life easy. No doubt their legal team are judged on success - so they avoid time consuming DD cases, which they might just lose. 4. That there is a statutory presumption that motorised traffic have to take the onus.

    Given the Home Office are supposed to supervise Police, and DfT the roads, CPS are in the Dept of Constitutional Affairs (I think) and between them the 3 practise buck-passing to avoid engagement, it's going to be a long time before initiative arrives!
  • I once had to give evidence at crown court regarding a violent assault. The defendant was charged with Affray, GBH and GBH with intent simultaneously. That way the jury got to decide how bad they thought it all was by giving a guilty verdict to one of an array of crimes varying in severity.

    Does this work with motoring? Is an errant driver charged with careless, DD and maybe something worse all in one go and the jury decide?

    If so then this all comes back to the public perception of danger and motoring. Perhaps targeting the legal profession would help. If we can get prosecutors to present their cases placing emphasis on the duty of care during driving, then we may have some success.
    We now have before us a small, clearly defined group of people who may be able to help our cause. If there is a legal person on this forum then does the law work in this fashion? and is their an incentive for a prosecutor to get a DD verdict over a careless verdict?
  • <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by spen666</i>

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by psychiatricblues</i>

    IMHO it is not the punishment that is wrong but the verdict. He was (in the legal and literal sense) guilty of dangerous driving. Driving whilst asleep clearly falls "Far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous". It was dangerous driving in both senses.

    The sentence was correct for the offence he was found guilty of (in the legal sense), but the jurors should be ashamed that they think driving while asleep is only careless.

    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">


    Very well said that person


    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">


    F*** me, I got a "Very well said" from Spen. I thought I would never agree with him!


    My life is now complete, I can sleep easy with a smug smile on my face. [:)]

    Cars don't kill people.
    Motorists do.

    Cars don\'t kill people.
    Motorists do.
  • If I may repeat the question, how agressively do prosecutors pursue the concept of dangerous driving?
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