Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Attempted murder?

I don't like to post too many of these stories but this was a particularly sickening injustice.

A motorist deliberately ran down a cyclist. You would think anyone who deliberately assaulted another person using a large, deadly machine, left the scene and attempted to pervert the course of justice would be charged with attempted murder. But not in the UK - just dangerous driving.

The fact that his deliberate actions came to light was simply as a result of his being generally a thoroughly despicable person, and his past actions and enemies (including his own mother) metaphorically and literally testified against him. So he got his karmic reward. Or did he? 33 months jail, for someone who has a previous conviction for leaving the scene of a crash? For deliberately inflicting life-threatening injuries from which the victim will never recover? With early release, this low-life will be killing again pretty soon.

So proving death by dangerous driving was easy in this case, even if justice wasn't done. If the perpetrator had been more calculating, he would have realised that 'sorry mate I didn't see you' or  'sorry mate I fainted' or even 'it was the spider's fault' is a valid defence in British courts. It's almost impossible to prove that a cyclist was deliberately hit, or even to prove dangerous driving, because the law is weighted so decisively against the victim. It's strange how in recent years with offences such as terrorism and knife crime, which result in far fewer victims than road crime, the Government has felt free to infringe civil liberties and lower the thresholds and standards for detection and conviction. Meanwhile, in the world of motoring, the opposite is happening. The safeguards against lawbreaking are being rolled back with the Government's war against the speed camera. If you're hit by a motorist, you're nothing more than collateral damage.
The right of the driver to do as he or she pleases seems to be the most unassailable, most fundamental right of all.

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