Monday, September 11, 2006

Prison threat for drivers who kill

The government, even in the middle of its internal political warfare, continues to pander to the prejudices of the ignorant.

For someone justly to be convicted of a crime, he should have criminal intent. I cannot believe that many drivers involved in fatal accidents have an intention to kill or even hurt the person who dies. Nor do many have a reckless disregard for the consequences of their driving. The risk of a driver being hurt is enough to ensure that he will do his best to avoid accidents.

Of course, if someone is culpably negligent to a degree which society thinks is equivalent to criminal intent (driving while too drunk or high to do so safely, for example) they should be as liable to criminal penalties as someone who deliberately or recklessly does harm. But the idea that a driver involved in a fatal accident who has neither intent to do harm nor is criminally negligent should go to jail is simply wrong.

The proposed change to the law is for no reason other than to satisfy a lust for revenge from the families of some accident victims. Any member of those families might well, on another day, need a more civilised response to their own mistakes on the road. The ones who cry for greater penalties are simply too stupid to realise that.

Law makers should also consider that there, but for the grace of God, goes any of them. A moment's loss of concentration in a lifetime of driving can lead to an accident. Sometimes we are lucky and the accident only bends metal. Sometimes, sadly, people get hurt. The accident rate in Britain, please remember, is already the lowest in Europe.

A member of my wife's family bore the burden for the rest of his life of having accidentally killed a child when driving a truck. Trust me, he did not need to be penalised further. Bravely, he went to the funeral and quietly bore being spat upon and assaulted by the family of the unfortunate child. Their grief was understandable. Their anger was pure emotional self-indulgence.

After all, what on Earth could he have gained by killing their son, who had climbed onto the truck for a joke, then lost his grip and fallen under the wheels as it was reversing? The driver was a father himself and was highly distraught to have been the unwitting agent of the boy's death. Yet still, in their stupidity, the family wanted vengeance. You only have to watch the stupid participants on various daytime chat shows to know what they were like. Now the government wants to pander to such brutish emotionalism.

While refusing to jail the burglars and muggers who spoil the lives of millions; while seeking to blame "society" for the manifold crimes of the underclass which are making Britain unliveable, still the government wants middle-class victims to prove its leftist credentials.

There is no question of justice here, not even the so-called "social justice" which is the excuse for so much vileness. Labour, as always, is playing politics with the lives of decent people.

Telegraph | News | Prison threat for drivers who kill


ContraTory said...

Twenty years ago I was involved in a careless driving case where another road user was killed. Being surrounded by the family, threatened and called “scum” was not very pleasant. People might say “serves you right” but I should point out that I was the defending lawyer, not the defendant. Fortunately, the Police had expected trouble (the defendant was a visiting foreign national returning from worship at a local mosque) and everything was nipped in the bud very quickly.

New Labour stands for Victim’s Justice. Their next bright idea will be the re-introduction of the Law of the Lynch Mob – much more effective and cheaper than an ASBO and you will be allowed to string up the defendant’s lawyer as well – a real vote winner.


Oh, so true!
I nearly killed a child when I was in a cul de sac, looking up at street signs. For some reason his parents did not consider that 'like playing on a real road.'

I nearly had a heart attack and could not have lived with myself had I even hurt,let alone, killed the child.
It's the same thing with people who spit out a ridiculous number of years they think is acceptable incarceration for any given crime- like 20 years for rape- with no clue how long and how much is endured in that 20 years.
It's just a sufficiently high enough number to sound like a justified punishment.