Tuesday, 23 October 2012

No Wonder Our Mental Health Service Is In A Mess…

A mental health worker who twice went drink-driving when acting as a designated driver for her friends has been banned from the roads for almost two years.
I rather think she’s confused as to what the term ‘designated driver’ actually means…

And yes, you read that right. Twice!
She was on bail at the time having been arrested for drink-driving two months earlier and was awaiting the result of a blood alcohol test.
Penalty? Well, nothing at all, really:
In addition to a 22-month driving ban, she was given a 12-month community order with 40 hours’ unpaid work. She was also told to pay £170 prosecution costs.
You will have to hope the authority for which she works takes a good, hard look at her powers of judgement.
Her solicitor, Mark Thompson, said Fairclough was on her way home from the funeral of a friend who had died unexpectedly when she was stopped in Haxby Road. The death had caused Fairclough anxiety and she was on anti-depressants.
The court was told she had not thought about the effects of the amount of alcohol she had drunk at the funeral.
Or, presumably, about whether they should be mixed with alcohol!
Fairclough told a probation officer the bar she had been at that day had been offering two drinks for the price of one, so she had taken up the offer.
/facepalm She clearly learned a few techniques for court from her work:
Mr Thompson said Fairclough was remorseful for her actions.
Well, of course she was!


Bucko said...

"Penalty? Well, nothing at all, really:"

I have to ask,

Harm? Did she do any?

Most people don't agree with my, 'no harm, no foul' philosophy. Some even say things like, 'What if she killed your kid'.
I still don't believe in punishing people on the off chance that they might have caused harm and I refuse to base my beliefs on the hypothetical.

The courts are a joke when it comes to sentancing burglars and violent offenders but I don't really have a problem with a light punishment where no harm is done.
And she will probably loose her job too.

Anonymous said...

Bucko, tend to agree with no harm no foul, with a caveat. I knew a local authority worker, tax payer funded, she was an essential car user, ie had to drive to do her job and received monthly recompense as such. She lost her licence due to drink, the LA put her on desk, doing nothing for the length of her ban. On the very rare occasions she had to go out they provided a driver. All at our cost.

Noggin the Nog said...


This is one of those areas where libertarianism loses touch with reality.

I understand the principle, but the reality is that drink has a very significant effect on motor skills. Allowing people to drink and drive is just an accident quite literally waiting to happen.

Luvvies call it 'social responsibilty'. I think of it as common sense.

microdave said...

"Or, presumably, about whether they should be mixed with alcohol!"

What, when such advice would be clearly printed on the label?

Demetrius said...

Is the this Mark Thompson who is currently Chairman of the BBC?

Anonymous said...

I'd have to go along with with you one this subject. Which is not something I usually do! I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to speak my mind!

Bucko said...

Anon - Agreed. I follow the drink driving laws because the penalty of loosing my car is too great a risk.
Someone who needs their car but has accepted that risk should not be waited on hand and foot like that at the taxpayers expense.

Noggin - I suppose that depends on your reality then.
Drink driving has not always been against the law. It isn't in some places now and some other places have even harsher restrictions than our own.
Any government from any time will defend their laws as correct.
The 'law' is simply based on your position on the globe and the date showing on your calendar.
Some people are an accident waiting to happen when they are stone cold sober. Others can drive over the limit with no problem.
If there is no harm, how can there be fines, penalties and imprisonment?
If someone can drive safely after a few scoops, as is the case with most people nicked for drink driving, then why not?

Noggin the Nog said...


It's not true that some people can drive unaffected after drink.

The chances of an accident increase exponetially when drink has been taken, and with that in mind I would prefer that avoidable risks be, well, avoided.

Some level of Gov interference is necessary to maintain order. Health inspectors in restaurants, safety maintenance in elevators, training and examination of dentists, etc, etc.

I understand your point about letting things slide until someone gets killed, but as it seems inevitable that that is precisely what will happen, why not maintain a reasonable system to attempt to prevent it?

If you really want to live in a country where no one tells you what to do, apart from the man with the biggest gun, try Somalia.

Bucko said...

Noggin - I didn't say people could drive unaffected after drink, I said they could drive safely. This is evident because of the vast number of people who have been punished for drink driving but never caused any harm.
People get killed every day with regular monotony. Most of the laws we have to prevent this unfortunate fact of life actually do little to prevent harm and cause unnecessary restrictions.
I'm all for people being punished for driving in a dangerous manner if it can be shown that their driving was erratic enough that immediate danger was a likely event. Not if they drive home from the pub in a safe and controlled manner having drunk more than an arbitary amount of alcohol.
And the limit is arbitry, just like all limits - Age of consent, age to drink etc.
Booze affects everyone differently.

And I have to ask, why is the counter Libertarian argument always, 'Move to Somalia'?

I'm sure that when I advocate the easing of restrictions so that people who have done no harm don't get punished, you don't really think I'm asking to live in a war zone?
Can you only see Somalia as an alternative to what we have now? Is there nothing else in between?

Noggin the Nog said...


The law does work, you admit yourself that you dare not break that particular law as the punishments are harsh, therefore fewer people drink and drive and therefore fewer people get mangled by drunks.

Your wouldn't permit the local blind archery club to practice in a playground as the results are entirely predictable, just as predictable as those that would arise from removing the sanctions associated with drink driving. It is a matter of fact that operating fast moving, heavy machinery with dulled senses and delayed reactions is not safe, and that includes all the people that do it without incident (so far).

The limit is not abitrary. It was based on permitting a minimal amount of alcohol to avoid convictions for those who have taken cough medicine, mouthwash, etc.

Somalia is an extreme example, to prove the point that societies do not function well without law and order.

I guess an 'in between' would be any British city centre on a Saturday night. Without law, places rapidly degenerate into war zones.

Bucko said...

Noggin - I did say I follow the law, but not because I believe it's right but because I'm scared of the consequences.
Your hypothetical archery situation is very different to the real one we are discussing. I also said I am happy for people to be punished if they are likely of causing immediate harm. That is not the case in most drink driving convictions.
The drink limit is far higher than the trace amounts in cough medicine. Alcohol affects different people in different ways. Therefore, any blanket limit imposed can only be seen as arbitary.
I understand that Somalia is an extreme example but I am not asking for law and order to be done away with, I'm asking for it to be applied in a more appropriate manner. Punish those who do harm.
I spend many a weekend night in a town centre and I welcome the law being there to prevent harm. I would not welcome them arresting anyone who has drunk more than a certain arbitary limit on the off chance that they might start trouble.
That is what we are talking about here - arresting folk who have not caused harm but 'might' do. (But probably won't)

Noggin the Nog said...


You are wrong, as a person's alcohol intake increases, so do their chances of having an accident. That is everybody, not most, not a few, everybody. There is the difference between your example and mine. Wandering home after one too many, a person will probably not commit an offense. People driving home after a few will, sooner or later, commit an offense, and possibly a very serious one.

If we adopted your way, how would we punish a driver who was pissed, killed someone but also died in the crash? There will always be those that break the law, whatever it is, but you are living proof that the current law deters more people from drinking and driving than no law at all.

What if, under your system, a driver has an accident and kills a man after 2 pints? Is, or should, drink be a factor the Police consider when deciding whether to charge him? What about 3 pints? 8?

I can walk in a straight line and hold a sensible conversation after 10 pints, but I certainly couldn't drive safely. How do we decide what offense has been committed if we do not set a limit?

I think a couple of questions should be asked of laws, to see if they are suitable.

Do they do more good than harm and would scrapping them do more harm than good?

The answer to both those questions in relation to the DD laws is 'Yes'.

Bucko said...

Well Noggin, I don't agree. And we're delving deeper into the hypothetical, 'what ifs' here now. Thats how bad laws are made in my opinion

Noggin the Nog said...



Thanks for the chat though.

Bucko said...

Noggin - 'Twas a pleasure :-)

JuliaM said...

"I have to ask,

Harm? Did she do any?"

No, but the potential is there. It's banned for a reason. And the dumb bitch did it twice!

"And I have to ask, why is the counter Libertarian argument always, 'Move to Somalia'?"

Have to agree - surely we can come up with a better example?

Dwayne said...

It's really a mess