Judge was right not to jail driver

Daily Express - - NEWS -

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.

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