Post by Farmer Giles
An 87-year-old man who was sentenced to 27-months in prison on Dec 14th
has died from a heart attack just nine days into his sentence at
He had reversed his car on a Sainsbury's car park in May last year into
two women shoppers, killing one and severely injuring the other. He
apparently hit the accelerator pedal instead of the brake pedal at the time.
This of course was an incredibly tragic accident, devastating for all
concerned, but was a prison sentence entirely appropriate?
The judge had been warned by the man's barrister that medical evidence
showed that he would probably have life-threatening medical issues if he
was imprisoned. However, she was not persuaded and even refused to allow
bail while the sentence was appealed.
I think this decision was not just wrong, but lacked any kind of common
sense or compassion, and is further evidence - if any were needed - that
there is a serious case for a more detailed look into the way that
judges are selected - and into the sort of people who become judges.
What do others think?
Judges think they are gods! It is more then overdue for them to know
that they should not be allowed to override elected people.
But apart from that, that man ought to have been banned from driving not
imprisoned and that judge should be taken to task, publicly!!
But, what do I know about the law? Not a lot.
As Beachcomber once remarked (many years ago) 'The law must not only be done
it must be seen to be believed'
Humans are actually very bad at this kind of thing, fortunately we are
developing technologies that can assist or even replace human judgement
(such as the video recording of football to support a referee's judgement)
which have the advantage that the raw data can be examined to see of the
decision made was valid (one odd thing about humans is that they strongly
dislike having their judgement questioned).
Tough!!! I know what you mean though. But when it comes down to
the case in question, I still believe that judge ought to be questioned and
It is debatable whether the gentleman should still have been driving at 80
as the reaction times would be a very poor fit for the equipment he was
trying to control, but humans are also averse to having their driving
abilities questioned. There again a bad night's sleep can result in equally
poor reaction times. We could in theory incorporate a driver assessment into
the start up sequence such that the characteristics of the vehicle could be
automatically adjusted to suit (maximum speed, acceleration, observance of
speed limits and the like) but full automation may be a better way to go.
A lot of fighter aircraft require a degree of control a human cannot
deliver, a computer flies the plane and the pilot tells it what he wants the
plane to do. It is in fact analogous to a rider and horse.
With a less comprehensive system we could save a few lives, for example a
proximity sensor with the ability to override the human's control could have
saved the ladies in the car park (and avoided a lot of replacement bumpers
and the like in general) but I cannot see people accepting that, demanding
we spend money to save other people's lives is seldom appreciated.
We lose a lot of people to cars and other road vehicles and one would think
that would spur some decisions, but as they are not challenging the Great
Leaders that is seen as less important than catching the odd nutter seeking
to express their infantile rage for religious or political reasons (not
however if they are a non religiously or politically motivated nutter of
Humans, can't live with them ,can't shot them.