Driver "sentenced" after Costa Crash Kills Woman

Discussion in 'OT (OFF Topic) Forums' started by brucemillar, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    Westerham: Sentencing of elderly driver David Lord for killing grandmother in Costa Coffee crash

    I post this here as I struggle with the "Sentence" given out.

    Had the accused stood up day 1 and pleaded guilty, having said, It was me, I got confused! Then I could maybe understand the thinking behind this sentence.

    But he dd not. He repeatedly lied about what had happened, blaming the car, a medical episode, another distraction etc.

    I cannot help but think what if this were a younger man in the dock? It changes nothing, I know but?
     
  2. CLSMark

    CLSMark Banned

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    "Suspended"

    No he walked free.

    The woman's life obviously wasn't worth anything.

    As long as these elderly drivers are paying road tax, insurance mot and fuel duty each year. The powers that be won't enforce a test re-sit


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. geraldrobins

    geraldrobins Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    'These elderly drivers'. Do you mean those at fault in an accident?
     
  4. CLSMark

    CLSMark Banned

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    Yes, I wasn't disputing that in any way. I'm agreeing with the OP


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  5. MikeInWimbledon

    MikeInWimbledon Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    What good is the revenge?

    I saw a similar case a couple of years ago when an 83 year old I vaguely know was thrown in the slammer for a year after killing a young woman in the same kind of accident. Generally his health and mental agility were good before the accident, although he had nervous and physical breakdowns as a result of the collision.

    Here's the story: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crim...r-losing-control-of-his-mercedes-9941216.html


    I can see the need for the revenge, but isn't the knowledge / memory that you killed someone enough of a price? Bearing in mind that the old geezer is about to die anyway?

    The legal case, of itself, isn't going to stop eighty year olds still wanting to drive. That's a question for Legislation, Doctors and the individual.

    Worth remembering that, in general, individuals who kill people with their cars, vans or lorries, still get off relatively scott-free, unless "dangerous driving" can be proved.

    Here's an example of a 62 year old getting off scott-free (but scarred for life)
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-39356514

    And of a jury letting off a lorry driver for killing a cyclist as a result of not seeing her:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...ted-bike-st-james-palace-museum-a7601556.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
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  6. OP
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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    My concern here is that "justice" is "seen to be done" and in this case where he repeatedly lied, even when the investigators pointed out to him the improbability of his evidence (gave him the chance to change it) he still lied, then changed his story to another lie. AT one point he blames a warning light, which Audi subsequently showed was "never an issue". He also blames a faulty throttle, a fault in the steering, the list goes on. He eventually settled on a "medical episode" clearly after he thought that would get him off, before changing that to "pedal confusion" when he realised he would get off anyway.

    When you view the video it does not show you where he hit several other cars, before driving over pavement and into the Costa. How he managed to miss anybody else is just pure luck, as there appears to be no steering action.
     
  7. markmifsud

    markmifsud Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    But there is no suggestion that he meant to do any of this, the fact that he hit a few more cars before the final tragedy of crashing into Costa shows that he did lose control and for that he has lost his right to drive for 5 years with a strict retest after the 5 year break. Justice is not about revenge.
    If he was younger then maybe time away would be the correct call, but at 87 who will benefit from him being jailed? its not like he can be rehabilitated whilst inside.
     
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  8. OP
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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    I find myself agreeing with you, or unable to argue any other view. But it feels wrong that he lied and put the family through so much more pain than they should have ever had to endure, had he simply owned up. I thought that this was supposed to be taken into account at sentencing?
     
  9. markmifsud

    markmifsud Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I guess a penalty for perverting the course of justice should have been applied irrespective of the actual offence?
     
  10. OP
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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    The judge said he did not find that Lord’s struggle to find an explanation was dishonest.
    “It was a product of your own incredulity as to how you could have driven in the way you accepted you did,” he continued.
    Neither was it surprising that his legal team sought some sort of medical explanation, as it was going to be suggested there was an epileptic seizure.
    “In the circumstances, you accept I must sentence you on the facts as advanced by the prosecution – that is you exhibited a gross and fatal error of judgement which manifested itself in your mistaking the accelerator for the brake, allowing the vehicle to continue as it did with disastrous consequences.”


    At a previous hearing a judge was told Lord most likely hit the accelerator rather than the brake and had lied about the run-up to the crash on several occasions.
    He said there was flashing error light on the dash which distracted him even though there was no mechanical fault detected and at first said he had not suffered a medical episode but later changed his story.
    Judge Jeremy Carey previously adjourned sentence pending a medical report after hearing Lord had likely suffered a complex partial seizure at the time of the crash, which might explain the flashing light he saw.
     
  11. MikeInWimbledon

    MikeInWimbledon Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    But did they prove he lied?

    It's not clear to me that anyone proved he lied.

    Audi said that their kit hadn't been at fault, but there was a suggestion that he may have had some medical issue which gave him a false impression of the flashing light.

    Was he lying? Maybe he was - but maybe, at 87, he was just confused. (I have a very sharp mother-in-law of 89 who can get confused by mundane things)

    I did Jury service last year and it was an interesting experience to compare different interpretations of what had happened in a brief (10 minute) period. Quite shocking really to see how much people differed in their versions of what quite mundane, unimportant elements.

    Should we allow 80+ year olds to drive at all ? Probably not.

    Should we allow teenagers to drive at all? Certainly not. (They cause a quarter of all road deaths, don't they?)

    Do I know a 92 year old ex-Fireman who is perfectly safe to drive 200 miles, mainly cross-country to Anglesea? Yep.
     
  12. rifiki

    rifiki Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    CLSMark, a retest will solve nothing but turn into a money making racket like many speed cameras. What is needed is a medical test, eye sight, reaction etc. Many, and I am one, OAPs are fit at 80 others are total wrecks at 65.
     
  13. MikeInWimbledon

    MikeInWimbledon Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Do lawyers present objective truth?

    Prosecution and Defence counsel are paid to present the best case for their client, attempting to dismiss the alternative case. The judge is there to preside and decide, but, by definition, the case from either side is always one sides' version.

    But I'll still stick with my initial point, that remembering the thud as your car ends someone's life is a substantial sentence in itself - especially in old age, when all your friends and family will look at you and say "you did that."
     
  14. OP
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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    Agreed. But there was and is no penalty for his lies, with the judge even appearing to accept that it was just a part of his defense strategy (it was) but it was still lying and that is supposed to be taken into account?
     
  15. markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    This highlights a much bigger issue.

    We judge by result, not by intention.

    It is very much human nature, but at the same time it contradicts everything we know from science.

    A person caught driving while over the limit will get a fine and possibly a short ban.

    But a confused elderly person who kills a woman gets two years suspended sentence.

    Why? Because luck was on the drunk driver's side and he/she did not kill anyone (yet)? And because the elderly chap was unlucky enough to have a woman sitting next to a coffee shop window in his path?

    We are rewarding and punishing luck, not intention or method. This makes no sense at all.

    To the scientific mind the person who knowingly took to the wheel while drunk, or intentionally drove a car at high speed knowing the risks, is posing the greater danger here (and to my mind is also the greater criminal even if he/she did not kill anyone on this occasion); the elderly person who had no intention of committing an offense or harming anyone is the lesser problem here, even if by some bad luck someone lost their life as result.

    But humans are.... well, human. And revenge is not scientific.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
  16. Giantvanman

    Giantvanman Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I'm not in a position to comment on the case directly, only speculate like everyone else not involved.

    I know from past experience that:-

    Pedal confusion is a recognised 'condition' or phenomena more often associated with the elderly and that people who experience this will deny with their last breath (and against all evidence) that this happened, so complete is their belief that they were pushing the brake and.....

    People try to rationalise. This unfortunately manifests itself in the utmost belief that there is absolutely no way they could have made an error of judgement. Whilst a few wilfully deny any culpability because they are intrinsically not very nice people, for the majority, it is a human condition to seek an explanation for what happened.

    In effect, their own brains begin lying to them and actual evidence is not always sufficient to convince them, so certain are they that it is not possible for them to have erred in such a manner. These people often say, "There must be an explanation" meaning, there must be an answer that doesn't involve an error on their part.

    Other than to appease a grieving family, what is served by putting someone in their eighties in jail when they will never be permitted to drive again? After all, it doesn't sound like he set out that day with the intention to harm.
     
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  17. OP
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    brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    Agreed with this ^

    But I still think that that the Judge (for whatever reason) saw fit to discount the repeated lies told be the driver. These were not, spur of the moment, panic lies. These were thought out over a period of several months, which took 'experts' in several fields, to debunk.

    What I am sating here is:

    This was a careful and deliberate attempt to mislead the court that was repeated on several occasions. Each occasion added delay and more anguish on the victims families (there were other people injured). The 'Pedal Confusion' defense was the first defense that was suggested to the driver immediately after the event. It has taken this long for him to accept that this was indeed the cause.

    I am convinced that were this a 21year old who set out to lie repeatedly to the court? we would see a different sentence?
     
  18. MancMike

    MancMike New Member

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    Just round the corner from me a couple of weeks ago an 88 year old mown down 4 people, 1 died.

    Don't know the outcome of that yet. :(
     
  19. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

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    To a certain extent are we not shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted here?
    What is manifest is a failure of the driver licencing system [ however defined ] to address the problem of an increasing aging population's ability to drive. On the one hand in their favour accidents tend to decrease as drivers get older [ insurance statistics bear this out] On the other hand their physical and mental abilities will reduce --eyesight, reaction times, ability to cope with complex new visual stimuli presented by unfamiliar road layouts etc etc . So the solution as I see it is not another driving test but regular fitness to drive medical assessment over age 70 . GP's shy away from this as a potential breach of patient confidentiality so it would have to be done by a third party doctor with perhaps an appeal system via your own GP or second party medical opinion .
    In the main older drivers tend to self regulate anyway restricting their driving to daylight hours, periods of low traffic density etc if they sense their abilities aren't as good as they were once, but in common with drivers of all ages some can have a tendancy to over estimate their abilities.
    As people age their mobility also takes a dive and often a car can be lifeline to get to the supermarket or medical appointments for example, particularly in areas not adequately served by public transport. Taking away older drivers ability to drive a car with some form of blanket ban may be taking away their independence placing an increasing burden on the state/social services . So a proportionate response is what is required. Banging up the odd miscreant after they inadevertently kill someone isn't really going to address the problem???
     
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  20. Rory

    Rory MB Club Veteran

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    Sounds like the Court didn't believe him and just thought he was going too fast. He admitted he was overtaking another vehicle.


    There does seem to be a lot of inconsistency in sentencing for vehicle rated incidents though.
     

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