The lunatics truly have taken over the asylum.

KT53KT53 Posts: 3,543
News report today of a man being jailed for 12 weeks for kicking a seagull do death.  Horrible thing to do and I'm not trying to minimise that.

However, in January this year a 17 year old was in court for killing two pedestrians when over the drug driving limit.  By use of a legal loophole he escaped prison and received just a 2 year driving ban.  His father is a serving police officer, but that would obviously have had no bearing on the outcome.

Which, in reality, is the greater crime?
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  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 476
    That's the logic of tabloid newspaper. Crimes by their very nature are not analogous. We really don't know the details what that "loophole" was for instance. As responsible citizens we have to put our trust to the legal system to deliver justice. Even if we somehow knew better than the judges what would the point be by comparing two utterly unlike crimes?
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • The law is blind isn't it? That means that acts in a manner that us mere mortals may not understand or agree with, as John Mortimer the writer of Rumpole of the Bailey once said "my advice is that if it is at all possible keep well away from the legal system".
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 476
    It also provides lots of opportunity for remedial action...I know it's of the moment to be all miserable and distrust official structures...but the legal system on the whole works well but like anything designed by humans its not perfect.
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,592
    I disagree with your premise, actually. Apart from how one feels about whether a human life has more value than that of another creature, wanton, vicious destruction of any life shows a serious risk from that person to all life. It may seem like a stretch that someone kicking a seagull to death might go on to shake a baby to death or to beat his wife, but there are well established links between violence against animals and violence against people. It's a crime that is very likely to escalate. Whereas a kid getting stoned - tragic though the consequences are - may never have sought to harm anyone and may well have been so affected by the outcome that he might not re-offend.

    As amancalledgeorge said, based on what you've said, we don't know the circumstances of either offence. Was it the first time the kid had taken drugs and then driven a car? Or was he doing it habitually? Why was he taking drugs - did he do it knowingly? Does he have some other issues that have made him susceptible? Did someone spike his drink? Did the chap kicking the seagull lash out when it stole his chips? Was it harassing him or his child? Or did he go looking for a creature to hurt and then attack it simply because he could? Perhaps you know more than you've said, but I wouldn't come to the conclusion that either judgement was wrong based on what you've said here.

    Shades of grey. You have to hope the judges in each case saw the background clearly enough to make the calls they did. They don't always get it right, for sure. But things aren't always what they seem from what's written in the papers.
    Flying...
    Or am I falling?
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 17,918
    Better the UK/European systems than the USA and most of Asia, Africa etc.

    That said, I do think the sentences available to, and imposed by, judges for some crimes are too limited.  I believe strongly that cruelty, whether to animals or humans is not treated seriously enough.  Penalties imposed for trapping or killing wildlife are too light but so are penalties for vehicular killing whether from speeding, drugs or alcohol or sheer stupidity.   

    I also don't think assigning corporate repsonsibility to industrial accidents is fair.  Businesses are headed by people and the decision makers should carry the can for deaths from bad construction, poor equipment, shoddy testing, evading regulations, exploiting loopholes.    I don't suppose we'll ever see the directors of Boeing in prison for letting that aeroplane go out whilst knowing about that automatic correction issue nor the people who made or installed the dangerous cladding on buildings like Lakanal or Grenfell nor the councillors and council staff who permitted that work to go ahead.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,592
    Obelixx said:
    I don't suppose we'll ever see the directors of Boeing in prison for letting that aeroplane go out whilst knowing about that automatic correction issue nor the people who made or installed the dangerous cladding on buildings like Lakanal or Grenfell nor the councillors and council staff who permitted that work to go ahead.
    I don't think there's as much equivalence there as might first appear, either. Boeing - it's a single product that can be tested as an entity and there's a fundamental question about whether it's honestly sensible to design a plane that can't be flown by a human being. Computers go wrong - they just do. To have no failsafe position in something like that seems culpably irresponsible.

    But Lakanal or Grenfell - the cladding is not inherently unsafe. It was used in the wrong way and installed badly. So you can't blame the manufacturers, who cannot legislate where or how their product is used. The designers who specified it? Well they presumably believed the test data which said it isn't flammable. It's arguable that they should have asked more questions. At the moment we don't really know how those decisions were taken. Perhaps the next part of the enquiry will produce more clarity on that. The builder? Culpable for poor workmanship, very possibly. But not for the lack of fire doors or proper ventilation to the stairs or even for there only being one stair in the building. The council for poor maintenance - it would seem from what we know, certainly. But not for the cladding - they employ experts who advise them and who will have told them it was safe - probably in writing. Councillors especially have no technical understanding of construction - why would they not believe reputable firms who tell them it's fine? The Government for Building Regulations being inadequate? Maybe, but we don't, as a country, want to have to pull down old buildings just because new ideas and new materials have come along. If the Government proposed that every building that doesn't comply with current fire regs has to come down, there'd be huge protests at the demolition of The Tower of London, or St Paul's Cathedral, or Blenheim Palace.

    No one will take the blame, most probably, because no one person/organisation was to blame, most probably. The same can't be said of Boeing. 
    Flying...
    Or am I falling?
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 17,918
    I've seen reports on TV that say Boeing knew about that auto pilot over adjustment so yes, definitely culpable.  There's also Whirlpool who know there is a problem with their tumble dryers catching fire and yet, according to a report this week, replaced a known faulty model with another on the recall list.  Incredible.

    I've also seen reports that that cladding didn't get the right tests to check it for flammability and I do think that if builders/engineers/architects/ expert advisors don't ensure materials are correctly used, especially in multiple occupation domestic buildings where people can be asleep when a fire breaks out they need to be held to account and I hope the planned enquiry gets to th ebottom of it all and that th enecessary changes to procedures and standards are applied.  They weren't after Lakanal.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 807
    Great insight, raisingirl. 

    I have confidence in our judiciary. My worry is that I would be falsely accused of a crime and by sheer bad luck had 12 jurors who, though ‘good men and true’ were also spectacularly dim witted and unable to follow the argument (listen to all those vox pop comments on Brexit!). Having said that, I had reason to appear in a murder trial once and was struck by the complete attentiveness of the jury.
  • I have served on a jury and would be very nervous of having to be tried by 12 good men it strikes me of being a very random way of deciding guilt, listening to the prosecution you think that the accused is definitely guilty and then the defence puts holes in the evidence and you start to doubt it. In the end you have to go by the advice that if there's any doubt you should acquit, there usually is some doubt so how anyone is found guilty is a mystery.
  • edhelkaedhelka GwyneddPosts: 424
    @barry island It can go both ways. I am always surprised by how convict-happy juries are in documentaries about real American cases which I've seen. Maybe people are more reasonable in this country but maybe not. On one hand, there were cases like OJ Simpson where there was no doubt, I think, and on the other hand cases like Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey where is more doubt than anything else (shown in Netflix Making a Murderer)(another good documentary is Confession tapes, very scary). It's simply bad system. It's always better to acquit a guilty man than to convict an innocent one so some bias towards not-guilty sentence is good, but I am not sure it's there, it's just too random.
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