If ever there was a case for a maximum sentence

  Forum Editor 18:29 16 Feb 09
Locked

it seems to me it that this one qualifies, yet the guilty driver is only likely to spend around 18 months in prison for killing six people.

click here

I can normally understand the rationale behind sentencing but in this instance I'm having a problem - why should being convicted of killing six people in a car be treated as a 'single incident' as far as sentencing is concerned? Six individuals died, and surely common sense says that the person who caused their deaths should pay a separate penalty for each killing.

If I run amok in a town centre with a pump-action shotgun and kill six passers by I would expect to be tried for and convicted of six murders. If the sentence for wilful murder is life imprisonment I expect to receive six life sentences, and I understand that they would run concurrently, but that the judge may make a recommendation that I serve a minimum term - taking into account the need to make the sentence reflect the seriousness of the offence.

Why then did this judge not impose the maximum penalty (5 years) for each of the six killings in this case, and make a recommendation that the culprit should serve the full five years in prison?

Somehow I can understand why the relatives of the family that was killed feel that justice has not fully been done here.

  Monoux 18:48 16 Feb 09

Surely made worse by the fact that on the same day a person convicted of smuggling drugs into the UK got 7.5 years

  newman35 18:53 16 Feb 09

It appears that to receive the 'top' of sentencing there has to be other 'aggravating' circumstances, such as driving without a licence/insurance etc.
Only if these are also there can a judge impose the maximum - they weren't, so he couldn't.

  WhiteTruckMan 20:11 16 Feb 09

biggest majority-but by no means all-are foreigners, with laptops on the dash, either running a satnav program, or watching a movie/tv, often porn, running on cruise control, with their right foot up on the dash. You simply cannot hide this sort of behaviour from another truck driver. I've sometimes given them a blast on the air horns as they pass me- foreign lorries= no speed governers only to be either given the finger or two, and have actually had my cab clipped by their trailer as they deliberately swing in early out of spite.

And yet the cops just arent interested. try ringing them up and they want to know every last detail about you, who you drive for,what you are carrying, when you last took your break etc, before they tell you the will keep a look out, but cannot actually do anything, because its a nightmare getting drivers ddetails from our EU 'cousins'.

Thecourts? don't make me laugh! you can all see what a pathetic sentancing mockery the courts are. And yet I feel confident in predicting that were I to do the same, I would be looking at a prison sentance in the 7-10 years absolute minimum. And if I did it abroad I would count myself lucky to come out of prison wearing anything other than a wooden box.

Not only should justice be done, it should be seen to be done. and today neither happened. 18 months probably to serve? thats just 3 months per life, which is what the court seems to think a life is worth.

WTM

  anskyber 21:00 16 Feb 09

When the whole picture of sentencing, or rather more accurately the definition of dangerous driving, was considered in 2006. The line between careless and dangerous driving was left too blurred after that review.

Whilst the act of careless driving (inattention) might be careless the effect can often as in this case be dangerous. ( an understatement if ever there was one.) The issue is was this a moments inattention or more prolonged inattention which as a result of the time of the lapse is actually dangerous.

The whole law and the guidelines which run with it must be looked at again and this case demonstrates that killing someone is best done in a vehicle if you want to walk away relatively free.

  knockin on 21:31 16 Feb 09

Despite the high level of emotive indignation this type of tragedy can invoke, the law asks that we judge by fact and not emotion.
The fact is that the offence is tried, not the consequence.
Your analogy, FE is flawed because:
a) your actions would be six separate acts
b) carried out with intent

Unfortunately (for our emotive responses to this dreadful event) this was deemed a lesser, and single offence, and is sentenced as such.

You are right, WTM, it does seem cretinous behaviour and how glad I am that on the occasions when I may have been careless at the wheel I did not cause such a horrendous outcome.

  WhiteTruckMan 22:10 16 Feb 09

in any way, shape or form, a 'momentary lapse of concentration'. Had the driver wandered onto the hard shoulder and struck a stationary vehicle I might be tempted to apply this label.

No, he failed to see stationary traffic ahead, despite having a superor vantage point than a car driver, ignored matrix warning signs, and killed six people.

How this can *not* be classed as causing deathby dangerous driving is beyond me. As is the totally shameless behaviour displayed by this portugese truck driver in denying the offence.

It is at very rare times like this that I am almost ashamed to call myself a truck driver, knowing that there are people of this ilk applying the same label to themselves.

WTM

  Si_L 22:22 16 Feb 09

FE, I'm having trouble making sense of your logic. The act of driving carelessly into another car cannot be compared to taking a shotgun into a crowd and shooting 6 shells at 6 different people.

For starters, he hit just the one car. The car could have been empty, or it could have had just 1 person in it. Either way, it was one action, and just because there was unfortunately 6 people in the car does not justify trying it as 6 separate actions, that just does not make sense.

Shooting 6 people is going out of your way with intent to kill 6 people, with 6 actions, none of which matches the news story.

Although I must add I agree that he should serve the maximum sentence of 5 years.

  WhiteTruckMan 22:34 16 Feb 09

Ok then, if you fired a single shot from a high powered hunting rifle or a military assault rifle into a crowd it could quite easily punch through (and kill) six people.

One criminal act, or six killings?

The severity of the punishment is in part dependant on the outcome of the crime. Had this driver struck an empty vehicle he would have recieved a lighter punishment.

WTM

  knockin on 22:35 16 Feb 09

WTM
I also struggle as to why it was not classed as dangerous driving - not being in court, I do not know the whole story.
The jury seemed to reject that idea, preferring careless driving, and that is probably what determined the sentence.
Few people with sentences over a certain number of years, serve the whole sentence in prison - they are released on licence - this includes murderers.
In cases like this, and where children are the victims, it is always difficult to feel that justice is served.

  perpetual motion 22:40 16 Feb 09

Look imho this guys was SERIOUSLY careless & whatever his defence said he WAS driving without due care At the "VERY" least,its a Horrific coinicidence that the car he happened to SLAM into was full of people & of the same family, IM 100% with FE not becuase he's the FE BUT because he like myself LACKS the idea that 3 yr sentance is sufficient, this guy will most probably serve his PATHETIC 18 months then KNOW its in his own intrest too move back home...

They should be a SERIOUS public outcry for this & the judge that laid this sentacne on this man should be questioned on his professionalism & accurateness of his manor towards this & i dare say other convicts that he has had before him,

I feel soo much sorrow for the family & for those that have too live without A SIX persons gap in there family i dont really think words can come to describe what they must be feeling & at least anger...

I dont know where this country has gone there is so much hostility now between ourselves due to examples like this i fear for the future..

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