Suspended sentence for lorry driver who killed cyclist and claimed he was unable to avoid hitting him

Prosecution rejected delivery driver's claim he was unable to pull over or slow down

by Simon_MacMichael   February 19, 2014  

Justice (Lonpicman, Wikimedia Commons)

The driver of an Argos delivery lorry who said he was unable to pull over or slow down before he struck and killed a cyclist near Stockton-on-Tees in May last year - an assertion challenged by the prosecution - has been given a six month prison sentence, suspended for two and a half years.

Joseph Reed, aged 50 and from Willington, County Durham, had pleaded guilty at Teeside Crown Court to causing the death by careless driving of 61-year-old father of four Sean Ruff on the evening of 21 May 2013, reports the Northern Echo.

Mr Ruff, who worked as a finance director for demolition specialists Able UK, had been making his usual post-work bike ride before driving home to Cleadon, South Tyneside, when he was struck from behind by Reed’s lorry.

The court was told that he suffered multiple injuries and that death would have been almost instantaneous.

Christine Egerton, speaking for the prosecution, said that the victim would have been visible to the driver for a minimum of 9 seconds and a distance of 227 metres prior to the collision at 6.20pm on the A66 at Elton, near Stockton-on-Tees.

She said: "Witnesses said he did not brake or deviate, even after the collision. Some witnesses feared he was not going to stop, although he did do so.

"An accident reconstruction found he was travelling at 55mph on the 70mph limit dual carriageway."

She rejected claims made by Reed when he was interviewed by police that although he had seen Mr Ruff, traffic in the lane outside him meant he could not pull out, while vehicles behind meant he was unable to stop.

"Witness accounts do not support that, they say lane two was empty,” she said. "In any case, there was room for Mr Reed to pass safely while remaining in lane one."

Christopher Dorman-O'Gowan, speaking in mitigation on behalf of Reed, said: "He does not seek to blame Mr Ruff in any way.  A thoroughly decent man died that day, and a good man was at the wheel of the wagon."

Passing sentence on Reed, Judge Peter Armstrong said: “Cases such as this are a tragedy for all concerned.

"Nothing I can say will provide comfort or recompense for the family of Mr Ruff, any life is priceless.”

Addressing Reed, who was also banned from driving for 30 months, he added: "The effect on you has also been great, you have lost your job and your home, and you will have to live with the fact you have taken a life.

"Your inattention to the road that day was not momentary, but neither was it a prolonged period of inattention.

"In passing sentence, I am bound to follow the guidelines for judges in such cases,” he added.

Commenters on this story should please keep in mind that the families of those involved may be reading.

59 user comments

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An utter farce again, I'm always shocked that a victims family in these situation haven't reacted more strongly given how appallingly the courts let them down.

posted by georgee [137 posts]
19th February 2014 - 23:16

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Another detail many seem to not have picked up on, the prosecution no less seems to think that there was enough space for him to pass safely in lane 1 of a Dual Carriageway.

The ONLY place to pass a vehicle (of any type) is surely lane 2

Also, never mind didn't have time t slow down, all road users have a responsibility to be able to stop in the distance you can see is clear in front of them. Is that not why as kids we were't allowed to run in the school corridors.

posted by EK Spinner [27 posts]
19th February 2014 - 23:18

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EK Spinner wrote:
Another detail many seem to not have picked up on, the prosecution no less seems to think that there was enough space for him to pass safely in lane 1 of a Dual Carriageway.

To be honest he was found guilty so doesn't matter.

There are a lot of questions that need answering though. The judge could only hand down the sentence he did because his guidelines prevented him doing anything else.

So why did the CPS not go for a more realistic charge? Why are the sentences so pathetic? What do Politicians intend to do about it!!

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posted by mrmo [1070 posts]
19th February 2014 - 23:19

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My condolences to the family.

posted by edster99 [160 posts]
19th February 2014 - 23:27

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Outraged and stupefied at the sentencing, not because Mr Ruff was riding a bike, but that he's human, with family and friends who loved him, and whom he loved. The loss would have been no less had he been walking, driving a car or a van, or riding a motorbike.

A six month sentence, suspended for two and a half years, and driving ban for the same length of time, is a grotesque slap in the face for justice. I'm not talking out of a petty sense of vengeance or retribution here - more deterrence, both general and specific, rehabilitation and prevention. Which this sentence in no way addresses.

posted by Argos74 [289 posts]
20th February 2014 - 7:38

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Until these drivers are banged up for significant periods of time, drivers will continue to drive like knobs endangering other road users. Getting away with murder is perfectly OK as long as you are driving the weapon!

posted by mlimburn [20 posts]
20th February 2014 - 8:34

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This is insane. There was no excuse for the killing of this man. If the weapon had been a knife it would have been years in jail, but because it was a motor vehicle, the killer gets to walk away.

The laws need to be revised and the CPS needs some backbone.

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

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posted by jmaccelari [151 posts]
20th February 2014 - 8:45

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stumps wrote:
However regardless of this its a bloody disgrace he was done for careless and not dangerous after admitting he saw him but kept on going in anycase.

Exactly, how can it not be considered dangerous when the driver admitted he saw the victim, claimed there was no room to overtake in lane 2, but just carried on driving anyway ? If you read the sentencing guidelines they do push the judge to a pretty pathetic sentence.

He pleaded guilty to carless driving, not sure if he was ever charged with dangerous driving but either he wasn't or the CPS accepted a deal for careless just so they could get a conviction. The legal system from the CPS down for this type of offence is an absolute farce

Argon18 E-112 - Scott Spark 910 - Boardman Team Carbon - Planet X XLS

posted by colinth [183 posts]
20th February 2014 - 8:59

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Neil753 wrote:
Maybe we should all be starting to think:

1. Do we really want car licence holders driving vans up to 7.5t?

2. Should we really be allowing such vehicles to drive at up to 60mph on dual carriageways, when HGVs are limited to 50, especially when "hi cube" 7.5t vans can be so enormous?

3. Isn't it about time we had compulsory cameras in commercial vehicles, pointing not only forward but rearwards as well, so that the behaviour of the driver can be more readily evaluated in a court of law?

4. And shouldn't we be starting to appreciate that if a lifetime ban was mandatory, for any "at fault" incident that involved loss of life, the number of collisions (major and minor) would fall dramatically?

1. As long as they are safe and respect other road users, what's the problem? It is the attitude of the driver that's the problem. Take this one case, this guy thought it best to plough through a cyclist rather than risk being shunted up the rear or change lanes. That's not an issue with the licence or vehicle!

2. As long as they are being driven safely and courteously, as above what's the problem? Also there is a huge difference in responsiveness between a fully loaded HGV of what 42t and 7.5t van.

3. No, because cameras will not stop people from driving unsafely, disrespectfully and discourteously. They only apportion blame after the incident. Far too many people on the roads today really on the other person to avoid an accident. I nearly rode under a HGV this week. The cameras would show a clear road in front and a clear car park behind, not that he pulled out in front of me whilst on the telephone without looking. I know he wasn't looking because I could clearly see the phone blocking his line of sight.

4. Totally with you there mate.

All this talk around safety features is bit like the great helmet debate. Bolxs. A loaded pistol in a locked case is not dangerous. A loaded pistol on a table is not dangerous. A loaded pistol in the hands of a sane, rational person has the potential to be a dangerous situation. A loaded pistol in the hand of a desperate, drug crazed psychopath held against someone's head is a dangerous situation.

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [290 posts]
20th February 2014 - 10:14

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I can't help but think, if he saw him, and chose not to take any form of action to avoid running over him, the driver made the choice that slowing down and risking being rear ended by a much smaller vehicle (assuming a car) is more unpleasant than killing a person. That is what's wrong with the attitude to drivers in this country. The sentencing guidlines are clearly unfit fot eh purpose, and the charge was inadequate. This wsn't careless driving (although the driver clearly didn't care about killing) it was dangerous, he made the decision to risk the life of another person because he couldn't be bothered to do anything else. That alone, should be grounds for a much harsher sentence than 6 months suspended and a 30 month driving ban. If it wasn't so tragic, this would be laughable.

Condolences to the family

posted by md6 [156 posts]
20th February 2014 - 10:23

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Whatever spin the lawyers put on this verdict, the sentence is a non sentence. The joint submissions by CTC BC and other high profile cycling organisations to the government with concerns of judicial sentences is obviously falling on deaf ears.

antonio

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posted by antonio [949 posts]
20th February 2014 - 11:15

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What concerns me the most is that despite the witness evidence not corroborating the drivers story, he was still only given a suspended sentence.

What on earth has to happen in order for drivers to face worse?!

posted by kitsunegari [19 posts]
20th February 2014 - 11:16

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BBB wrote:

As a foreigner (many years in the UK) it really makes me wonder what kind of people the judges in this country are and how they get to their positions. Are they soft bleeding heart lefties like many of their colleagues in a public sector?
Can someone shed some light on it, please?

Judges aren''t usually accused of being raging lefties. A disproportionate amount of them are privately educated middle aged white men - again, not a group known to be particularly left wing.

After the riots a few years back the judges were merrily sending people to prison for stealing bottles of water, so I think it is more than the section of society the judges represent instinctively identify with drivers and not cyclists.

In any case, and to be fair, the judges only sentence within guidelines provided to them. The main issue tends to be the CPS only pursuing relatively minor charges and the juries being reluctant to convict.

posted by Chris James [182 posts]
20th February 2014 - 11:31

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He had time, he didn't stop...then he LIED about it. WTF do you have to do to get the full force of the law.

posted by RedfishUK [48 posts]
20th February 2014 - 12:03

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He was found guilty of the wrong offence. He saw the cyclist from more than 200 meters away, he had plenty of time to change lane if he was concerned about safely passing him - but instead due to his own arrogance and sense of self importance he decided to plow on regardless and run another human being down. It's murder, not some semi criminal "driving offence". He made a deliberate and premeditated decision to run a man over, it's not a poxy driving offence in any shape or form.

posted by MKultra [212 posts]
20th February 2014 - 12:09

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Very sad. Nothing would posess me to cycle on a dual carriageway. Tried it commuting 18 years ago, on the advice that it was a quicker route, and it scared the cr#p out of me. I can still remember the feeling of cars and lorries thundering past me at 70mph.

Shades

posted by Shades [195 posts]
20th February 2014 - 12:16

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Chris James wrote:
BBB wrote:

As a foreigner (many years in the UK) it really makes me wonder what kind of people the judges in this country are and how they get to their positions. Are they soft bleeding heart lefties like many of their colleagues in a public sector?
Can someone shed some light on it, please?

Judges aren''t usually accused of being raging lefties. A disproportionate amount of them are privately educated middle aged white men - again, not a group known to be particularly left wing.

After the riots a few years back the judges were merrily sending people to prison for stealing bottles of water, so I think it is more than the section of society the judges represent instinctively identify with drivers and not cyclists.

In any case, and to be fair, the judges only sentence within guidelines provided to them. The main issue tends to be the CPS only pursuing relatively minor charges and the juries being reluctant to convict.

What a load of ignorant tosh.

1 Judges don't make the law, don't do the investigation, don't decide on which charges to bring and don't decide the verdict.

2 They are responsible for ensuring a fair trial within the law (if they don't it is grounds for appeal).

3 They are responsible for the sentencing. But they have to sentence in accordance with guidelines for the offence. There's a minimum, there's a maximum. Each offence has a starting point which is roughly in the middle of the two.. From that baseline judges can add or subtract from the sentence depending on aggravating or mitigating circumstances and they set out their reasoning in their judgement. Anything that is arguably either too lenient or too punitive vis a vis the guidlines and previous rulings in all courts in England and Wales or which has an error in fact or in law or in the reasoning can also be appealed.

In this case the Crown Prosecution Service brought the charge of "death by careless driving" They could possibly have brought the charge of "causing death by dangerous driving" I think they should have. Nevertheless, the max penalty for careless is 5 years. The max penalty for dangerous is 14 years.

Here are the sentencing manuals
Dangerous
http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/death_by_dangerous_...
Careless
http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/causing_death_by_ca...

Where judges went to school or what their politics are has almost nothing to do with the sentences they pass down.

...and BTW why does being left wing or right wing make you more or less sympathetic to road victims? - The commonly held view is that left wing people are more sympathetic to offenders and right wing people to their victims. You say so yourself moaning that offenders in the riots were given very harsh sentences. Ipso facto right wing judges are more likely to sympathise with a middle class company director victim (cyclist) killed by a working class lorry driver (criminal) dont ya think?

A sensible comment might have been that if the lorry driver had 9 seconds to see and react to sean ruff and failed to either slow down or change lane when it appears that he could have done so then he was arguably guilty of dangerous driving. In this case the CPS is to blame for the lenient sentence. If he was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving (and I think he would have been convicted for a level 3 on the information I have).

Level 3 - This is driving that created a significant risk of danger and is likely to be characterised by:

Driving above the speed limit/at a speed that is inappropriate for the prevailing conditions OR
Driving when knowingly deprived of adequate sleep or rest or knowing that the vehicle has a dangerous defect or is poorly maintained or is dangerously leaded OR
A brief but obvious danger arising from a seriously dangerous manoeuvre OR
Driving whilst avoidably distracted OR
Failing to have proper regard to vulnerable road users

I'd say that nine seconds to react and neither slowing down or changing lane and then hitting a cyclist would be a cinch for a conviction.

Starting point: 3 years custody
Sentencing range: 2-5 years custody

He did have mitigation according to the guidelines ie
Otherwise good driving record
Genuine remorse.

therefore the sentence would likely have been the minimum for CDbDD ie 2 years

The judge in this case had where the charge was CDbCID had a Starting Point of 15 months custody
Sentencing range: 36 weeks - 3 years custody

The same mitigation applies. The best we could have hoped for on this charge with these circumstances would have been a 36 week sentence. + ancillaries. He actually got that less his 25% for pleading guilty straight away.

I say again it is not the judges fault in this case but the CPS bringing a lower charge than could be justified. The judge can only sentence for the conviction he can't sentence a person for what they should have been charged with.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [567 posts]
20th February 2014 - 12:59

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He admits he saw the victim, and claims (incorrectly) he could not move out to overtake, so did nothing to try and slow down and avoid a collision. The fact he was up on a careless driving charge seems like little more than they didn't think one of dangerous driving would stick.

Dangerous Driving;
(1)For the purposes of sections 1 and 2 above a person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if —

(a)the way he drives falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and
(b)it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous

If the CPS opted not to go with a dangerous driving charge, because they felt that a jury would not find that his actions fell far below what is expected of a careful and competent driver, then something really has to change.

posted by dp24 [186 posts]
20th February 2014 - 13:01

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oozaveared wrote:
Chris James wrote:
BBB wrote:

As a foreigner (many years in the UK) it really makes me wonder what kind of people the judges in this country are and how they get to their positions. Are they soft bleeding heart lefties like many of their colleagues in a public sector?
Can someone shed some light on it, please?

Judges aren''t usually accused of being raging lefties. A disproportionate amount of them are privately educated middle aged white men - again, not a group known to be particularly left wing.

After the riots a few years back the judges were merrily sending people to prison for stealing bottles of water, so I think it is more than the section of society the judges represent instinctively identify with drivers and not cyclists.

In any case, and to be fair, the judges only sentence within guidelines provided to them. The main issue tends to be the CPS only pursuing relatively minor charges and the juries being reluctant to convict.

What a load of ignorant tosh.

1 Judges don't make the law, don't do the investigation, don't decide on which charges to bring and don't decide the verdict.

2 They are responsible for ensuring a fair trial within the law (if they don't it is grounds for appeal).

3 They are responsible for the sentencing. But they have to sentence in accordance with guidelines for the offence. There's a minimum, there's a maximum. Each offence has a starting point which is roughly in the middle of the two.. From that baseline judges can add or subtract from the sentence depending on aggravating or mitigating circumstances and they set out their reasoning in their judgement. Anything that is arguably either too lenient or too punitive vis a vis the guidlines and previous rulings in all courts in England and Wales or which has an error in fact or in law or in the reasoning can also be appealed.

In this case the Crown Prosecution Service brought the charge of "death by careless driving" They could possibly have brought the charge of "causing death by dangerous driving" I think they should have. Nevertheless, the max penalty for careless is 5 years. The max penalty for dangerous is 14 years.

Here are the sentencing manuals
Dangerous
http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/death_by_dangerous_...
Careless
http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/causing_death_by_ca...

Where judges went to school or what their politics are has almost nothing to do with the sentences they pass down.

...and BTW why does being left wing or right wing make you more or less sympathetic to road victims? - The commonly held view is that left wing people are more sympathetic to offenders and right wing people to their victims. You say so yourself moaning that offenders in the riots were given very harsh sentences. Ipso facto right wing judges are more likely to sympathise with a middle class company director victim (cyclist) killed by a working class lorry driver (criminal) dont ya think?

A sensible comment might have been that if the lorry driver had 9 seconds to see and react to sean ruff and failed to either slow down or change lane when it appears that he could have done so then he was arguably guilty of dangerous driving. In this case the CPS is to blame for the lenient sentence. If he was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving (and I think he would have been convicted for a level 3 on the information I have).

Level 3 - This is driving that created a significant risk of danger and is likely to be characterised by:

Driving above the speed limit/at a speed that is inappropriate for the prevailing conditions OR
Driving when knowingly deprived of adequate sleep or rest or knowing that the vehicle has a dangerous defect or is poorly maintained or is dangerously leaded OR
A brief but obvious danger arising from a seriously dangerous manoeuvre OR
Driving whilst avoidably distracted OR
Failing to have proper regard to vulnerable road users

I'd say that nine seconds to react and neither slowing down or changing lane and then hitting a cyclist would be a cinch for a conviction.

Starting point: 3 years custody
Sentencing range: 2-5 years custody

He did have mitigation according to the guidelines ie
Otherwise good driving record
Genuine remorse.

therefore the sentence would likely have been the minimum for CDbDD ie 2 years

The judge in this case had where the charge was CDbCID had a Starting Point of 15 months custody
Sentencing range: 36 weeks - 3 years custody

The same mitigation applies. The best we could have hoped for on this charge with these circumstances would have been a 36 week sentence. + ancillaries. He actually got that less his 25% for pleading guilty straight away.

I say again it is not the judges fault in this case but the CPS bringing a lower charge than could be justified. The judge can only sentence for the conviction he can't sentence a person for what they should have been charged with.

What's actually at fault is the ludicrous law. A more sensible approach would simply say that if you kill someone with a vehicle, that's it, no more driving, no more vehicle.

Given the current prodriving mindset you may be right, although the mitigation pleas are ludicrous. How do you square 'genuine remorse' with lying to the police? He's simply a lying scummer. Hopefully he'll never be able to afford a car ever again.

posted by oldstrath [146 posts]
20th February 2014 - 13:13

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if this boils your piss then i urge you to write to your MP.
google it, its free, its quick and its easy.
no point moaning on the internet if you are not going to try and change things.

posted by mrchrispy [285 posts]
20th February 2014 - 13:36

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oldstrath wrote:
oozaveared wrote:
Chris James wrote:
BBB wrote:

What's actually at fault is the ludicrous law. A more sensible approach would simply say that if you kill someone with a vehicle, that's it, no more driving, no more vehicle.

Given the current prodriving mindset you may be right, although the mitigation pleas are ludicrous. How do you square 'genuine remorse' with lying to the police? He's simply a lying scummer. Hopefully he'll never be able to afford a car ever again.

No that would be a ludicrous law. And whether the person has genuine remorese or is a lying scummer is a metter for the court to decide. You know when they see him. speak to him see the whites of his eyes and the cut of his jib, the tone of his voice his body language. You know that stuff. Maybe he's a great actor, maybe the judge (that sees a lot of lying scummers) is a poor judge of all that. But he has to do more than just lie.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [567 posts]
20th February 2014 - 13:50

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A lot of comments on here talk of his decision to continue driving rather than slow down or change lane.

Witness statements suggest he didn't not brake or deviate, and that the second lane was clear.

Doesn't this suggest that he didn't see the cyclist (i.e. wasn't looking)?

posted by BikeBud [100 posts]
20th February 2014 - 14:22

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BikeBud wrote:

Doesn't this suggest that he didn't see the cyclist (i.e. wasn't looking)?

Which is even more astounding really.

Which would you think more badly of.

Sorry judge I was distracted, I didn't see him.
Sorry judge I saw him but ran him down anyway.

To be honest neither is exactly good, but the first strikes me as honest and the reaction of a normal person, since when is deliberately driving over a person the preferred excuse for a mistake?

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1070 posts]
20th February 2014 - 14:40

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No it simply suggests that he thought he had right of way so decided to kill someone to prove it. If he was unable to see the cyclist then he should be serving time for manslaughter as he was driving when he knew he was medically unfit to drive. It's a toss up between murder for the first and manslaughter for the second. Sadly he ended up pulling less jail time than someone who fails to pay the TV licence. This is how much our lives are worth to the oil companies.

posted by MKultra [212 posts]
20th February 2014 - 14:40

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oozaveared wrote:

What a load of ignorant tosh.etc

I wonder which specific bits you found to be most ignorant? I answered your points about charging and sentencing in my third paragraph, so it can't be that.

My first two paragraphs were in answer to BBB's question as to whether judges were 'soft bleeding heart lefties like many of their colleagues in a public sector?'.

I didn't 'moan' about sentencing in the riots, I merely pointed out that jailing people for stealing a bottle of water wasn't great evidence of judges being 'soft bleeding heart lefties'.

Is that the bit you disagree with?

posted by Chris James [182 posts]
20th February 2014 - 16:28

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oozaveared wrote:
oldstrath wrote:
oozaveared wrote:
Chris James wrote:
BBB wrote:

What's actually at fault is the ludicrous law. A more sensible approach would simply say that if you kill someone with a vehicle, that's it, no more driving, no more vehicle.

Given the current prodriving mindset you may be right, although the mitigation pleas are ludicrous. How do you square 'genuine remorse' with lying to the police? He's simply a lying scummer. Hopefully he'll never be able to afford a car ever again.

No that would be a ludicrous law. And whether the person has genuine remorese or is a lying scummer is a metter for the court to decide. You know when they see him. speak to him see the whites of his eyes and the cut of his jib, the tone of his voice his body language. You know that stuff. Maybe he's a great actor, maybe the judge (that sees a lot of laying scummers) is a poor judge of all that. But he has to do more than just lie.

Sorry, can't see why you think it would be ludicrous. At worst, unfair to a small number of unlucky drivers, tiny price for removing murderous clowns like this from the roads.

As for remorse - if he never drives again and devotes the rest of his life to road safety I'll believe it, otherwise I'd regard it as a con. Another successful one.

posted by oldstrath [146 posts]
20th February 2014 - 16:40

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BikeBud wrote:
A lot of comments on here talk of his decision to continue driving rather than slow down or change lane.

Witness statements suggest he didn't not brake or deviate, and that the second lane was clear.

Doesn't this suggest that he didn't see the cyclist (i.e. wasn't looking)?

BOLXS!

"She rejected claims made by Reed when he was interviewed by police that although he had seen Mr Ruff, traffic in the lane outside him meant he could not pull out, while vehicles behind meant he was unable to stop."

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [290 posts]
20th February 2014 - 17:16

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Neil753 wrote:

1. Do we really want car licence holders driving vans up to 7.5t?

Good point. I see car licence holders in 4x4s who i'd rather not see driving them on a daily basis.

posted by dp24 [186 posts]
20th February 2014 - 23:46

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dp24 wrote:
Neil753 wrote:

1. Do we really want car licence holders driving vans up to 7.5t?

Good point. I see car licence holders in 4x4s who i'd rather not see driving them on a daily basis.

Right now, somewhere in the UK, there's someone climbing into a hi-cube 7.5t van, who maybe hasn't driven anything bigger than a small car, or maybe hasn't driven any vehicle at all since they passed their car driving test many years previously. That driver will not have any understanding of how such a huge vehicle behaves when fully loaded (possibly poorly loaded), will be unfamiliar with the controls, will probably be completely unaware of the need to inspect such a vehicle much more carefully before the start of a journey, have reduced situational awareness, and may be prone to "panic" when faced with unforseen "obstacles" (like a cyclist riding his bike along a narrow dual carriageway).

As I see it, current UK licensing, that allows car drivers to step up into something much bigger, without any sort of training whatsoever, is completely bonkers.

If I could change one thing on British roads, at minimum cost for maximum lives saved, it would be to get the hgv limit changed from 7.5t to 3t, for all new drivers.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
21st February 2014 - 16:43

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oozaveared wrote:

What a load of ignorant tosh.

1 Judges don't make the law, don't do the investigation, don't decide on which charges to bring and don't decide the verdict.

I don't disagree but I think you've gotten confused as to whose comments you are replying to! I can't tell who you are arguing with!

The first poster's suggestion that judges are 'leftists' is of course utterly bonkers.

Its silly to assume that there's a simple relationship between left and right and attitudes to crime and punishment. The most left-wing regimes on this planet have mostly been _extremely_ keen on the death penalty and long sentences, after all (that's kind-of been the major problem with them)!

And right-wingers (at least of a certain type) have, equally well, long been quite keen on lenient treatment for those who commit crimes against certain groups that they don't like (e.g. who most opposed making rape in marriage a crime? Who in the US let off those who lynched black people? Who thought 'gay panic' should be a reasonable defence for murdering gay people? It wasn't "lefties").

Law-and-order is not in any way a simple left-right issue.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [663 posts]
21st February 2014 - 18:52

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