Judge was right not to jail driver
A MAN of 90, Philip Bull, was dropping off his dementia-stricken wife of 87 at a community hospital when he hit the accelerator instead of the brake as he reversed into a parking space, killing two women.
There were no medical reasons why he should have stopped driving and as the judge said, the accident happened in a moment’s inattention and the poor old man will live with the knowledge of what he did for what remains of his life.
It was therefore utterly right of the judge to give him a suspended sentence rather than send him to jail. Let he who has never made a mistake on the roads cast the first stone.
Being sent to prison would have achieved nothing and deterred nobody but his wife, already in a confused state, would have been deprived of his care.
The relatives of the victims, their grief still fresh, shouted and swore in court. One told reporters: “I hope he remembers this for the rest of his life and that he lives a very long time.”
But he will remember it each and every day, a fact recognised by the judge. As he himself is reported to have told people at the scene “what a way to end my life, taking the lives of others.” Effectively he has a life sentence of guilt and remorse.
In our post-Christian society the focus is on vengeance not forgiveness but sending Bull to prison would not have brought his victims back to life. Most of us at some time in our lives do inadvertent harm to others and it is a wise judge who knows when mercy should trump vengeance.
They had a right to hear charges
THE Conservative Chief Whip at Westminster and the Labour First Minister in Wales are guilty men. Both have sacked colleagues without affording them the most elementary justice of letting them know what the allegations are. Both have thereby demeaned their office. People are entitled to know of what they are accused and who is doing the accusing.
In the Welsh case Carl Sargeant committed suicide still not knowing what the allegations were. In the Westminster case Charlie Elphicke heard the news of his loss of the whip from the press not the Chief Whip. Even when he spoke to him he was refused any detail about the allegations.
The words Soviet and Russia come to mind. So do witch and hunt. And for that matter, kangaroo and court.