Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Five Years

For killing someone after falling asleep at the wheel.

Donald Pearce, 49, a pub landlord, had slept only three hours in the previous 24 as he drove from Stansted Airport after a night flight from Turkey in October, 2005.

On the A11 near Wymondham, Norfolk, Pearce fell asleep and his car drifted into a layby at 60 mph, hitting Zak Carr, 30, a champion UK time trials cyclist, as he cycled to his job on a building site. Pearce had denied causing death by dangerous driving but was found guilty at Norwich Crown Court earlier this month.

Banning Pearce from driving for seven years and ordering him to pay more than £2,000 costs, Judge Simon Barham told him that he should have been aware that he was likely to fall asleep at the wheel.


Now it's true it was a foolish thing to do. But five years ?

What do you get four years (you're eligible for release after two) for nowadays ?

Stabbing your husband to death, a neighbour to death, dropping heavy objects onto strangers from a motorway bridge, shaking a baby to death, smuggling dope for paramilitaries, locking a child in a skip and burning him to death (reduced to three years on appeal), killing a woman rather unpleasantly with a golf umbrella.

Obviously lesser offences than Mr Pearce's. Words fail me.

9 comments:

Voyager said...

death by dangerous driving

The Test for conviction on this charge is high and requires two issues to be proven. The law lays down a very heavy tariff as a consequence.

He killed someone. He was in charge of a motor vehicle in an unfit state, a state he should have been fully aware of.

I think he has gotten off lightly - I should have thought a lifetime driving ban would have been added

JuliaM said...

"He was in charge of a motor vehicle in an unfit state, a state he should have been fully aware of."

Agreed, no question.

But then how did the deliberate murder of two people (the husband & neighbour) & the smuggling of dope bring a lesser sentence (just to quote three of Laban's examples)...?

dearieme said...

5 years was right. The other sentences were too light.

mister scruff said...

no wonder British Muslims are demanding sharia law, when we cant even get our own justice system sorted out.

johnm said...

The issue here is "mens rea".

A person who goes out to kill someone is qualitively different from someone who kills by accident. The question is to what extent to we hold someone responsible for determining their fitness to drive.

Years ago the popular sentiment was that tiredness would not only impact upon his ability to drive but also upon his ability to correctly diagnose that he was too tired to drive. The key change is that whereas years ago a driver was regarded as everyman, he is now regarded as an anti-social pariah (at least by the commentariat).

Voyager said...

But then how did the deliberate murder of two people (the husband & neighbour) & the smuggling of dope bring a lesser sentence (just to quote three of Laban's examples)...?

Different Judge - different Court. Go spend a day in court - you will not come home impressed....quite the opposite indeed

JuliaM said...

"Go spend a day in court - you will not come home impressed"

I have no doubt.

I often feel less than impressed by just spending a few minutes looking at 'The Law West of Ealing Broadway' blog..!

Anonymous said...

Oh, there IS a funny side to this!

It's just the fact that many people have died to make it funny that perhaps weighs down the humour.

Voyager said...

I often feel less than impressed by just spending a few minutes looking at 'The Law West of Ealing Broadway' blog..!

He's a Magistrate I think - try Crown Court or High Court with be-wigged costume drama and lawyers' lies before a barrister on the bench