Thursday, 12 February 2009

There’s A Moral In This Story….

….but, though I feel for the parents, it probably isn’t the one they’d like it to be:
The parents of a man left to die in a car by his friend today branded his five-and-a-half month jail sentence a 'disgrace'.

Christian White was cleared of manslaughter at Luton Crown Court today after a judge ruled prosecution evidence was not enough to allow a safe conviction.
I can see why they are upset, but let’s be sensible here – if you let an unlicensed, disqualified driver drive you home from a night out, are you not partially to blame yourself?
The 30-year-old, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, was driving Adam Ferguson's car when he plunged down an embankment into a ditch.

But rather than calling for help for his seriously injured friend White fled the scene and walked five miles to his former home in Eynesbury.

Mr Ferguson's body was not found until the following morning by a passing motorist, by which time he had died.
And the CPS, presumably prompted by the grieving parents, went for ‘manslaughter by gross negligence’ charges.

Which were promptly thrown out by the judge:
A trial for manslaughter by gross negligence, which started last week, was stopped at half-time today by Judge John Bevan who ordered the jury to acquit White.

He sentenced him to five-and-a-half months for other charges of driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance that the 30-year-old had previously admitted.

He was also fined £500 and ordered to pay £578 costs, and disqualified from driving for a further three years.
Note that ‘disqualification’…
During the trial, the prosecution alleged White, who was disqualified from driving at the time, had 'consigned' his friend to death by failing to summon help.

The court heard the men went out together from Mr Ferguson's house in Sandy, Bedfordshire, on February 29 last year.

Mr Ferguson drove them there in his Vauxhall Cavalier but White drove them back.
Did Ferguson know about his friend’s history? If he did, then allowing him to take the wheel was nothing short of criminal.

Because he wasn’t disqualified just for going through a few too many speed traps….
The court heard today that White was disqualified in 1999 for dangerous driving in a chase after failing to stop for police.

He had not taken his driving test after that disqualification, and remained banned at the time of last year's crash.
So disqualifying him yet again is a bit of a pointless exercise, isn’t it…?

And sorry as I am for the parents, railing at this judge isn’t helpful – better to turn your ire to a criminal justice system that allows someone to be banned from driving yet never enforces it so as to make it a meaningful punishment…

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