Monday, February 02, 2009

Well, what do you think?

A 21-year-old woman who was texting when she ploughed into a car and killed its owner, in November 2007, has been sentenced to 21 months in clink.
A motorist who sent and received more than 20 text messages before she crashed into another car killing its driver has been jailed for 21 months.

Philippa Curtis, 21, from Suffolk, was texting before she hit the back of a stationary car at 70mph on the A40 near Wheatley in Oxfordshire.

Victoria McBryde from Northamptonshire, who was dealing with a burst tyre, was killed in the crash in November 2007.

Curtis, of Bury St Edmunds, was also given a three-year driving ban.
...

She admitted sending text messages while driving, but denied using her mobile phone at the time of the collision.

Your humble Devil tries not to comment on sentencing too much—the only people who know all of the facts are those in the courtroom—but in this case I believe that the sentence is harsh but, I'm afraid, pretty fair.

Still, I am grateful to The Penguin for highlighting another case, from December 2007, in which the driver was texting shortly before ploughing into a stationery car, killing the driver.
In one case, the guilty driver has been sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Sentencing is awaited in the other case.

I trust that a similar custodial sentence will be handed out. It surely wouldn't do to let Lord Ahmed off with a few hours community service just because he's a Muslim? Or a Labour Peer of the Realm? And the corpse was a foreigner?

If 21 months is good enough for a waitress, then it's good enough for Lord Ahmed.

Come, come, my dear Penguin: can't you see that the latter is an especially difficult case to pass sentence on?
On 1 December 2008, Lord Ahmed appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court in connection with a charge of dangerous driving. Lord Ahmed admitted sending and receiving five text messages on his phone while driving shortly before the crash, and pleaded guilty to the charge before him. He was banned from driving until his sentencing. On 22 December, Sheffield Magistrates' Court referred the case for sentencing at the crown court on 19 January due to its "aggravating features". This was later put back until 25 February. Lord Ahmed faces a maximum of two years in jail.

We shall see what becomes of poor, wee Lord Ahmed, won't we? And we'll probably learn a bit about just how blind justice is in this country.

Still, I do hope, if Lord Ahmed goes to prison (as the Curtis-McBryde precedent suggests that he should), that Letters From A Tory will keep a close eye on his expenses claims...

UPDATE: Lord Ahmed has not previously crossed into your humble Devil's consciousness, so I send thanks to jon in the comments, who points me to Archbishop Cramner's article on Lord Ahmed. And His Grace pulls no punches.
Lord Ahmed is a repugnant individual. Not only in appearance, but in association, character and morality. And to hear that he has threatened jihad on the House of Lords if their lordships should fail to meet his demands only serves to intensify Cranmer’s loathing of the man.

It appears that a member of the House of Lords had invited the Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, to a private meeting in the Palace of Westminster. She had intended to invite her colleagues in the Lords to a private viewing of his ‘documentary’ Fitna, followed by discussion and debate in true parliamentary fashion. This is, after all, a liberal democracy, and their lordships enjoy the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of association, not to mention certain parliamentary privileges for the protection of their function in the legislature.

But no sooner had the unsuspecting baroness sent out her invitations, Lord Ahmed raised hell. It is reported that he ‘threatened to mobilise 10,000 Muslims to prevent Mr Wilders from entering the House and threatened to take the colleague who was organising the event to court’.

And so Fitna has been cancelled: it shall not now be screened in the House of Lords on 29th January.

The Pakistani Press is jubliant, and Lord Ahmed is praising Allah for delivering ‘a victory for the Muslim community’.

It is a victory for censorship and intolerance; it is a victory for ignorant bigotry over enlightenment: might I suggest that Lord Ahmed simply start a bonfire of books that he dislikes, so that he might be revealed to all as the evil, hate-filled, backward fucknuts that he so obviously is (for as we know, any regime that destroys books is automatically suspect).
It is a sorry state of affairs indeed that a parliament whose liberties have been forged through centuries of religious intolerance should succumb to the threats of one intolerant Muslim.

Well, he's in good company with the rest of the Labour Party, eh? Most of the government are just as stupid and bigoted as Lord Ahmed, and they have a prodigious fondness for banning things.

If this man is not slammed into prison for a decent length of time for his part in the killing, I shall consider it a personal affront.

UPDATE 2: there's yet more on the charmless Lord Ahmed from my impecunious Athenian friend. Truly, Lord Ahmed seems to be an utter shit of the very first water and utterly undeserving of a peerage: his very presence in the Lords besmirches even its current tainted reputation...

20 comments:

Mark Wadsworth said...

"the driver was texting shortly before ploughing into a stationery car"

I tell you, these chaps delivering office supplies, they're always on the receiving end ...

jon said...

Let us not forget this delightful gentleman's other claim to fame:

http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com/2009/01/lord-ahmed-threatens-parliament-into.html

Katabasis said...

This is my neck of the woods.

I'm on the case.....

I'll let you know what I uncover.

Anonymous said...

I think Kris Donald would contend that there is very much one law for Muslim criminals and another for the rest of us.

Hysteria said...

let's hope whichever way sentencing goes it gets publicity.

Texting while driving and causing such an unecessary loss of life makes me bloody mad - but hopefully we won't get too much more of it if people know time in gaol will follow.

Conversly - if m'Lord is lightly sentenced I will be even more fucking mad!

Bill said...

You think 21 months for murdering someone whilst performing an illegal act is 'harsh, but fair'? She also got a driving ban for 3 years.

Personally I think the sentence is absurdly lenient. A person has had her life taken away from her as a result of the carelessness and flouting of the law of a miscreant; to me this is murder (no doubt classifiable as 'manlaughter') and should be treated as such when sentencing such people.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Bill,

"... whilst performing an illegal act..."

I wrote something very similar to this originally; however, she denies using her phone at the time of the accident (for what it's worth, I suspect that this is absolute horseshit) and, as I said, I wasn't in the courtroom.

I assume that the most that they could do her for was dangerous driving, which would carry a maximum of two years.

For what's it's worth, I think that it is a low sentence. On the other hand, what will anyone gain by sending her to prison for longer?

DK

John B said...

Note that Curtis was convicted of *causing death by dangerous driving*, whereas Ahmed was just convicted of *dangerous driving* - in other words, the court accepted that his actions played no part in Gombar's death. Therefore, it would be expected - completely aside from Ahmed's political position - for him to get a lighter sentence.

"to me this is murder (no doubt classifiable as 'manlaughter') and should be treated as such when sentencing such people."

No. Curtis did something breathtakingly stupid; she was also extremely unlucky; and a man died as a result.

But we've *all*, at some point, done something breathtakingly stupid which, if we'd've been unlucky, could have resulted in someone else's death. Anyone who says they haven't is a liar.

It's right that Curtis should be punished. It's also right that Ahmed should be punished *for his dangerous actions in texting while driving*, even though they didn't cause Gombar's death. But in both cases, their actions are toward the 'not very bad' end of the serious badness scale, not the 'murderer, lock them up forever' end.

Mike Power said...

These two cases are similar but differ in one important respect. Curtis was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. Ahmed has been convicted of dangerous driving.

The maximum sentence for the former is 14 years so Curtis's sentence was lenient. The maximun sentence for the latter is 5 years.

William said...

On the other hand, what will anyone gain by sending her to prison for longer?

Punishment.
Deterrent.

JuliaM said...

Ah, I see the bleeding hearts have arrived. Travelling in pairs now, for safety and mutual reassurance...

"But we've *all*, at some point, done something breathtakingly stupid which, if we'd've been unlucky, could have resulted in someone else's death. Anyone who says they haven't is a liar."

I'm racking my brains, you know, I really am, and I can't think of anything. Never driven after drinking, never used my phone while driving (to CALL, never mid text!), never overtaken at speed when it wasn't safe to do so, etc, etc...

I think you'll find a hell of a lot of people can say the same. Don't assume everyone has your own cavalier attitude to life, will you?

JuliaM said...

"Curtis did something breathtakingly stupid; she was also extremely unlucky; and a man died as a result."

Telling that you regard the 'bad luck' as occuring for Curtis, and not for the poor sod she mowed down...

Jay said...

"Curtis did something breathtakingly stupid; she was also extremely unlucky; and a man died as a result."

If you do something breathtakingly stupid you can't really claim bad luck can you now? Driving a ton of metal at 70 miles an hour requires attention, texting is something most people can't do while walking or talking, she's guilty of being a fucking idiot, someone else died because she didn't have enough sense not to be a fucking idiot ergo she gets punished, there's no problem here - other than the fact that the sentence for having absolutely no respect for other peoples safety while engaged in an inherently dangerous activity seems pretty low.

Roger Thornhill said...

Lord Ahmed can burn any number of books he wants, as long as he throws his fat carcass on top of the pyre.

He is intolerance and hypocrisy writ large.

Roger Thornhill said...

p.s. what Jay said.

John B said...

"never overtaken at speed when it wasn't safe to do so"

Liar.

"I think you'll find a hell of a lot of people can say the same."

Yes, other liars.

"If you do something breathtakingly stupid you can't really claim bad luck can you now?"

Yes, of course you can. The vast majority of breathtakingly stupid actions will have no major consequences, which is why people like JuliaM can remain steadfastly in denial about the ones they've done. And then bay for blood when someone else's unlucky number comes up.

The right thing to do would be to punish *everyone* who texts when driving, or who otherwise drives unsafely - since their *actions* are no worse than Curtis's.

However, given that the kind of people who think Curtis and Ahmed should be boiled alive are the first to whine 'unfairness! taxation! evilness!' when people are fined a trivial amount and get 25% closer to losing their licence for driving unsafely [*], this is unlikely to happen.

[*] I don't mean 'all speed limits are the right ones at all times of the day and night', I mean 'speed limits exist, and either you're *incapable* of driving within their parameters and therefore far too inept to be allowed on the road, or you deliberately choose to flout the law for your own amusement and are therefore far to reckless to be allowed on the road'.

JuliaM said...

"Liar."

Can you prove me wrong, then? Have you installed a spycam in each of my cars, plus the hire cars I've driven?

Or are you simply assuming that because YOU have done so, everyone else must as well? Never mind, I hear a good psychiatrist can help you with that...

John B said...

"Have you installed a spycam in each of my cars, plus the hire cars I've driven?"

No, I just bribed a copper to access the government's secret database of subversives and their actions, as believed in by all good libertarians ;-)

JuliaM said...

Ah, I see. Blowing smoke out of your arse, as usual.

Carry on, dear boy. Don't let me stop you making a fool of yourself...

Anonymous said...

She admitted sending text messages while driving, but denied using her mobile phone at the time of the collision.

So she was only texting in the few seconds before the collision, that's alright then.