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Killer drivers to receive life sentences in law change Watch

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    (Original post by usualsuspects)
    I don't like it. Life sentences should be for people beyond rehabilitation or very serious cases (terrorist attack, serial killer). You shouldn't spend your life in jail because you killed a person while driving drunk. There is no intention or premeditation and the culprit was not reasoning and acting with complete consciousness.
    Tell that to the parents who lose their eight year old child outside the school gates, to a person driving at 70 mph in a 30 limit. Or the family who lose four members in the same vehicle, to a truck driver when he was texting while the traffic ahead had come to a standstill.

    The law must also act as a deterrent as well as punishment.

    The key here is that until now, judges hands were tied in such cases which absolutely warrant a life term.

    Personally, I think we should adopt a zero tolerance for drink driving.
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    (Original post by usualsuspects)
    Yes, with drunkness being an attenuating factor.

    The difference is that while driving you didn't make an active choice (even a choice dictated by drunkness) to kill the person: you were unable to avoid it, it was an accident. If you are drunk, decide to kill your girlfriend and run over her, then that is exactly identical to using a knife.
    Of course you are able to avoid it: don’t drink and drive = avoided it. I get that you may not have intentended to kill the person but that’s why its manslaughter, not murder.
    Stabbing someone in the leg implies that you didn’t mean to kill them too, especially if you did so while drunk and disorderly. So why shouldn’t both crimes carry the same punishment?
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    (Original post by uberteknik)
    Tell that to the parents who lose their eight year old child outside the school gates, to a person driving at 70 mph in a 30 limit. Or the family who lose four members in the same vehicle, to a truck driver when he was texting while the traffic ahead had come to a standstill.

    The law must also act as a deterrent as well as punishment.

    The key here is that until now, judges hands were tied in such cases which absolutely warrant a life term.

    Personally, I think we should adopt a zero tolerance for drink driving.
    I don't, on principle and because I do it relatively frequently.

    I don't care about the parents at all, criminal law (I mean jail) is not supposed to serve as an instrument of revenge. Depriving the person of all his goods in favour of the parents would be a more proper form of compensation than knowing the person is suffering in jail, which is only cruel.

    The deterrent works up to a certain degree... I'd rather kill myself than spend 14 years in jail, same for 30, so, for me, it makes no difference. Do you think people will stop texting while driving because the sentence is 30 years instead of 14? Numbers are approximate, but they serve well to convey the idea.
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    (Original post by cherryred90s)
    Of course you are able to avoid it: don’t drink and drive = avoided it. I get that you may not have intentended to kill the person but that’s why its manslaughter, not murder.
    Stabbing someone in the leg implies that you didn’t mean to kill them too, especially if you did so while drunk and disorderly. So why shouldn’t both crimes carry the same punishment?
    Let's not put harming and killing together, we were discussing death. If you use a knife against a person, there is explicit intention to harm. If you run over a person by mistake while texting and driving, you didn't intend to kill them. I feel the law should make some kind of distinction between these two acts.
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    (Original post by usualsuspects)
    Let's not put harming and killing together, we were discussing death. If you use a knife against a person, there is explicit intention to harm. If you run over a person by mistake while texting and driving, you didn't intend to kill them. I feel the law should make some kind of distinction between these two acts.
    Yes, stabbing someone with a knife means that you do intend to harm them, so I suppose you think that by stabbing someone, you accept the possibility of killing them even if that isn’t the intent? Well, why shouldn’t that same principle apply to drink driving / driving while texting?
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    (Original post by cherryred90s)
    Yes, stabbing someone with a knife means that you do intend to harm them, so I suppose you think that by stabbing someone, you accept the possibility of killing them even if that isn’t the intent? Well, why shouldn’t that same principle apply to drink driving / driving while texting?
    No, because by stabbing there is intent to harm or kill while by drink driving there is neither.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    You are not right here.

    Parliament has decided that committing this crime under the influence of drink or drugs makes that a more serious crime in the same way that Parliament has decided that robbery is more serious than theft or that an assault with a racial motive is more serious than the same assault without a racial motive.

    In a democracy, it has to be right that Parliament decides what are the more serious and what are the less serious crimes.
    Is it under the influence or is it having over a certain level in your blood?
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    (Original post by the beer)
    Is it under the influence or is it having over a certain level in your blood?
    Either and it also catches those who refuse to provide a blood or breath specimen.
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    (Original post by usualsuspects)
    No, because by stabbing there is intent to harm or kill while by drink driving there is neither.
    But in both cases, shouldn’t you accept the possibility that somebody could die as a direct result of your stupid decision?
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    (Original post by cherryred90s)
    But in both cases, shouldn’t you accept the possibility that somebody could die as a direct result of your stupid decision?
    Sure, that's why both are crimes. I only think the punishment shouldn't be the same.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Either and it also catches those who refuse to provide a blood or breath specimen.
    Bit harsh on cannabis smokers compared to other drug use given how long it's detectable after the effects wear off.
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    (Original post by the beer)
    Bit harsh on cannabis smokers compared to other drug use given how long it's detectable after the effects wear off.
    That is the way the pot cookie crumbles.
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    (Original post by Tiger Rag)
    Life rarely means life. There are only some 30-40 people sentenced to life who will never be released.
    But importantly a "life sentence", which this offence will become, is not the same as a sentence of "life imprisonment". The latter of which is no longer available to the courts, even for the most serious cases of murder. A life sentence in this case simply means that you will be forever attached to and supervised by the state, for the rest of your life.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    That is the way the pot cookie crumbles.
    What was the problem with proving someone is under the influence? Drug use isn't illegal, cannabis is the most widely used drug, we're telling the majority of drug users that it doesn't matter if you are high or pissed when you drive or not you will be treated the same, i'm not sure that's great for road safety.
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    (Original post by the beer)
    What was the problem with proving someone is under the influence? Drug use isn't illegal, cannabis is the most widely used drug, we're telling the majority of drug users that it doesn't matter if you are high or pissed when you drive or not you will be treated the same, i'm not sure that's great for road safety.
    It would return to the interminable disputes that used to exist before the breathalyser.

    The problem is policeman says driver unsteady on his feet; driver says he wasn't. Policemen says driver seemed spaced out. Driver says he was conversing normally. The CPS have to prove incapability beyond reasonable doubt.

    In the 1960s, double crewing of police cars was the norm. On the other hand, the defence could ask for a jury trial. Now the offence is magistrates only; perhaps they are more likely to believe the police, but single crewed police cars are common. CCTV won't really help here.

    In practice it meant the police could only prosecute those cases where a not guilty plea would be unrealistic.

    Moreover, the general principle is that a witness cannot give evidence of the answer to the question the court has to determine, so (from an old case):

    "On the trial of a charge of being unfit to drive through drink, contrary to s 6 of the Road Traffic Act, 1960a, the testimony of a witness of his impression whether the accused had taken drink is admissible in evidence, if he states also the facts on which his impression is based, although the witness is not an expert medical witness; but evidence of such a witness that the accused was fit or unfit to drive a motor vehicle through drink is not admissible."
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    It would return to the interminable disputes that used to exist before the breathalyser.

    The problem is policeman says driver unsteady on his feet; driver says he wasn't. Policemen says driver seemed spaced out. Driver says he was conversing normally. The CPS have to prove incapability beyond reasonable doubt.

    In the 1960s, double crewing of police cars was the norm. On the other hand, the defence could ask for a jury trial. Now the offence is magistrates only; perhaps they are more likely to believe the police, but single crewed police cars are common. CCTV won't really help here.

    In practice it meant the police could only prosecute those cases where a not guilty plea would be unrealistic.

    Moreover, the general principle is that a witness cannot give evidence of the answer to the question the court has to determine, so (from an old case):

    "On the trial of a charge of being unfit to drive through drink, contrary to s 6 of the Road Traffic Act, 1960a, the testimony of a witness of his impression whether the accused had taken drink is admissible in evidence, if he states also the facts on which his impression is based, although the witness is not an expert medical witness; but evidence of such a witness that the accused was fit or unfit to drive a motor vehicle through drink is not admissible."
    That's fine if the test works, fail a breathalyzer and you're almost certainly under the influence, not the case with cannabis. What about drugs that don't show up on a drugs test. couldn't we make use of body cams?
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    I don't think the prison sentence should be long, because the drivers didn't have the intention to kill or didn't plan to kill beforehand (in most cases) and therefore pose little threat to society as far as their character goes.
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    (Original post by VirgoStrain)
    I don't think the prison sentence should be long, because the drivers didn't have the intention to kill or didn't plan to kill beforehand (in most cases) and therefore pose little threat to society as far as their character goes.
    But they're still a danger. Whose to say they won't do it again?
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    (Original post by Tiger Rag)
    But they're still a danger. Whose to say they won't do it again?
    That excuse can be used to sentence anyone for any crime for decades in prison.
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    (Original post by the beer)
    That's fine if the test works, fail a breathalyzer and you're almost certainly under the influence, not the case with cannabis. What about drugs that don't show up on a drugs test. couldn't we make use of body cams?
    Bodycams would note if the suspect was plucking a daisy in the driving seat with a stupid grin on his face, but is hardly likely to spot more realistic cases of impaired reaction times etc.

    There are 12 drugs only where maximum limits have been set. The limit for cannabis is 2 microgrammes per litre of blood and the feeling is that levels will fall below that very quickly and certainly within times that are reasonably comparable with alcohol.
 
 
 
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