The law told us one thing this week: You’re really going to have to work hard if you want to get banned for life.
The “worst motoring record ever seen” will get you back on the road in two years
In sentencing Wayne Rogan, a man whom he described as having the worst motoring record he’d ever seen (“30 previous convictions, 70 offences, many related to vehicles”, and this time pleading guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving with no insurance and failing to stop after an accident), a judge on Teesside awarded – in addition to a 12 month prison sentence – a two year ban.
Yes, the judge thinks that the worst motorist he’s ever seen should, albeit after an extended test, be back on the road in two years’ time. (Assuming, given that we know he’s already ignored at least one ban, he bothers to wait that long.)
Hitting someone, dragging them along the tarmac, fleeing at speed and covering it up will get you back on the road in three years
The most exciting news story for prospective shit drivers is this one. This should certainly bolster your confidence in really letting loose on the road without fear of much punishment.
Stephen Passey got in his car with his alcohol levels at around twice the legal limit, and knocked down Jamie Slesser, smashing his windscreen. He carried Slesser over 50 metres before braking, from which point he dragged him under his car for nearly 200 metres. Then he stopped, left Slesser for dead (he wasn’t; but he was, and remains, horrifically injured) and sped off at up to 90mph and through red lights, with his head out of the window as he was unable to see through the windscreen. On returning home, he put a brick on the windscreen in some sort of attempt to lie about the cause of the damage.
For all of this, Passey received a 10 month prison sentence, and a three year ban. This judge, too, saw fit for this offender to be behind the wheel again after a very few years and an extended retest.
A curious comparison: ride a bicycle irresponsibly and you may face a manslaughter charge
In the case of Passey, there is a baffling comparison to be made, specifically with an incident in Chelmsford in which a bus passenger tragically died. News reports have mostly been inaccurate, but the report on road.cc includes information from the passenger’s grandson.
A teenager on a bicycle rode into the path of a bus, whose driver made an emergency stop, during which the elderly gentleman in the priority seating at the front of the lower deck was sent flying forwards, where he sustained the injuries that killed him. An unusual and complex scenario, certainly, but the interesting aspect in the context of road law is that the police are considering a charge of involuntary manslaughter (which was involuntary GBH prior to the passenger’s death).
So, on the one hand we have someone who has made the decision to drink and then drive; who has, after running someone over, continued drive with them being dragged under their vehicle; who has then chosen to flee the scene and leave them helpless and critically injured in the road; and who has then sought to cover up their actions. And on the other, we have an idiot who rode a bike in front of a bus.
Of these, the former is not charged with GBH. Yet for the latter it is under consideration.
Why is this? How can this possibly be?
If knowingly dragging someone under your car for nearly 200m and harming them so much that they have to undergo skin grafts to remove the tarmac from their body doesn’t constitute GBH I don’t know what is; certainly I’m not sure that recklessly straying into the path of a bus whose passengers are unrestrained should constitute it.
Of course, a manslaughter charge hasn’t yet been filed against the bike rider in Chelmsford. But the fact that it’s under consideration, when I can only recall one case of GBH applied to a driver – where the driver very clearly used his vehicle as a weapon in a conscious attack on a child and her father – is truly startling.
One thing’s for sure: as long as you’re in a car, pretty much everything you do is covered by “careless driving”; and pretty much everything that isn’t covered by that is covered by “dangerous driving”. Each of which are much less toothy charges than, respectively, those of GBH and manslaughter.
Essentially, if you’ve ever seen Leon (and, by the way, if you haven’t then you really should), it makes no sense in the UK. The professional hitman’s smartest weapon isn’t a knife.
It’s a car.