Joyrider gets 4 years. - Toad, of Toad Hall.

Compared to 4 years for beating someone to death it seems harsh.
Compared to 1 year for speeding it seems soft.
Compared to helmet protesting it seems soft.
These are my own opinions, and not necessarily those of all Toads.
Joyrider gets 4 years. - HF
After drink-driving and killing 3 people it seems *extremely* soft to me.
Joyrider gets 4 years. - FFX-DM
I believe that the maximum sentence (correct me if I am wrong) for causing death by dangerous driving is 15 years. Since this specific offense, I have not spotted anybody getting this length of sentence (given that the media will always sensationalise 'soft' sentences), although several reported cases have involved deaths of innocent 3rd parties (including children) and drinking, joyriding, lack of insurance etc on the part of the guilty party.

Hmm, is the system only interested in using 'the stick' on us motorists when it's concerning tax, congestion charges etc? Cynical, moi?!!
Joyrider gets 4 years. - HF
So why on earth don't these scum get the 15 years?
Joyrider gets 4 years. - DavidHM
I take your point, HF, but 15 years is the maximum sentence, more than you'd typically get for most other forms of manslaughter. Four years sounds lenient to me, but his is not the worst possible case you can imagine.

The thing is, the guy took his father's car and, in his drunken state, probably didn't think he was stealing. He may have taken it with permission, but without insurance, many times before.

He may never have had any previous convictions - if he made a habit of drink driving, and was more experienced and more aware of the consequences, he would deserve a longer sentence. He could also have been much further over the drink drive limit than he was. None of this makes him innocent, and I'm sure he isn't pleasant, but even on the facts that we've been given, he's not a 15 year case either.

Until about the 1950s, death by dangerous driving was just another form of manslaughter, but there were many cases where juries of ordinary people would refuse to convict a driver who they felt was just unlucky and who didn't deserve a potential life sentence. I don't know if that would still apply today.

Also, four years is the minimum sentence that requires you to go before a parole board. Less than that, and early release is automatic unless you have seriously breached the prison rules, so the judge was obviously setting the sentence to take that into account. (That's also why Lord Archer got 4 years).
Joyrider gets 4 years. - HF
Thanks, DavidHM, you have given me much to think about.

I understand what you're saying in a legal way, but at the same time, I think most of us would have the same reaction as the husband in the above case.

3 lives, 4 years - I know I would not feel justice was done if, god forbid, this happened to anyone that I know.

I understand what you're saying about the 4 years - and I appreciate that this person will not get automatic early release - all the same, could you imagine being related to one of his victims, and seeing him get just 4 years?
PS this is too emotive for me, thanks for replying to me David but I really think I had better stay out of this thread for now :(
Joyrider gets 4 years. - dave18
I grit my teeth because maybe I shouldn't post here based on my own conviction, thankfully for DD alone due to no harm to others.
Given he had no licence. Given he did NINETY in a town, and killed three people, this sentence is very soft.
But the pre sentence report will have helped to decide will he reoffend again? I know that the realisation of what *could* have happened means I'll think carefully before having even *one* drink before driving once I have my licence back.
Cases like this one are sad because the questions to be answered are how to make the families feel like justice is done (answers range from: lock up and throw away key, to nothing can bring x back.) Also how to make sure the offender is adequately punished. Did he walk into court with an attitude - does he realise the severity of what has happened - or did he walk into court sorry and anxious?
I suppose, from the judge's point of view, there will be occasions where an accurate sentence is impossible.
I doubt there was any malice involved, but the sentence was still lenient, as are sentences for beating people to death and raping people and so on.
Joyrider gets 4 years. - DavidHM
I think 4 years is lenient based on what's been said, although obviously there are things going on that the judge will understand, but the media and people unconnected with the case will neever know.

I was just saying why his case wasn't a *fifteen* year case. I would (and this is a personal opinion, not related to the law) have preferred a 6-10 year sentence.

In no way am I criticising the husband's perspective. His reaction is right and natural and I'd feel exactly the same. However, part of the reason why we have courts is so that we can try and find a fair punishment that balances the interests of society (in terms of costs, deterrence and rehabilitation), the victim, and even the criminal. (That said, the interests of the criminals will weigh very lightly in this case, but if they had *no* rights, we'd have the death penalty for shoplifting a Mars bar.)

Victims shouldn't be allowed to set punishments, though they have a right to be heard, because to do so isn't justice, it's a vendetta. I feel we're getting a bit OT, but I do want to get that off my chest.
Joyrider gets 4 years. - Mark (RLBS)
2 people, both deliberately and irresponsibly drunk, both in stolen cars.

One loses it on a bend and hits a lampost. One loses it on a bend and hits a bus stop killing 10 people.

They are both guilty of *exactly* the same offences, intentions & motivations - only the result, over which they had no influence, is different.

Should they receive the same or different jail sentences ? For sure one had a more serious impact, but if you take that into account then you are dealing with retribution, which is theoretically at least not part of justice.

To know what is right, you would have to fully understand why you were sending them to jail with what intended effect.

And the one thing the UK has *never* sorted out and agreed upon, is why we send people to jail and what we intend to acheive. It could be;

- revenge/retribution
- rehabilitation
- removal from society
- etc.

Without understanding that, it is impossible to decide how long jail sentences should be, and even whether or not a jail sentence is even appropriate.

Joyrider gets 4 years. - BrianW
Didn't we go through this in detail over the Selby crash?

You could restate it as:
One driver falls asleep and hits a lamp post.
One driver falls asleep, lands up on a railway line and kills ten people.

Same offence. Different outcome.
Same sentence?
Joyrider gets 4 years. - dave18
Huge argument with a friend over that one.
Friend believed sentence was at best fair and at worst too lenient.
Same friend's gf recently drove from nr Liverpool to Sunderland having hardly slept. They joked 'Sarah was kinda falling asleep at the wheel so we didn't do it in one stretch.'
My opinion about Selby was that the driver received a punishment equal to what a drink driver may have received in the circumstances and harsher than some murderers.
I think the philosophy the courts use in such cases is that the interests of society are looked after. To protect society from harm, this guy will have probably been deterred effectively by a week inside and a 6 month ban, but there would have been uproar. Still a harsh sentence though. Jail should be for people likely to reoffend - violent people and so on. And Lord Irvine has just gone on about how burglars needn't be imprisoned... you gotta wonder.
Joyrider gets 4 years. - madf
The joyrider in question had a recent conviction for assault as well...

I think you are all too mealy mouthed.. People should pay for the CONSEQUENCES of their actions:
so if they kill 1 person say 5 years
2 people 10 years etc

That is the only way to tell the diiots not to do things.

Unfortunately the courts get confused: are they tehre to punish or prevent?

Answer: both send the worst to jail for a long time.

Does prison work for the community? Yes saves us from the villians when they are in..

Stuff the offenders.. that's their problem.. not ours..
Joyrider gets 4 years. - dave18
That is very narrow minded.
Sometimes - and Im not applying this to, for example, the murderer - the consequences themselves are enough shock to prevent the offender from going wrong again.
You opinion here is natural anger but you've got to look at the circumstances. Simply cannot say this sentence for this crime ,that sentence for that crime.
Does prison work for the community? Yes. We release burglars. Hey.. it saves us money ,and the law of averages states only one or two will pay by way of being burgled. :@)
Joyrider gets 4 years. - joe
Much wisdom here!

My view FWIW is that in Mark's hypothetical scenario, the driver ploughing into the bus stop does get punished more heavily, although in a strict moral sense he is no more or less guilty that the driver who gets away with it. That is because justice has to serve all the purposes that Mark sets out. The drivers are being punished both for their moral culpability (driving while drunk) and also for the results of their crime.

Today a backroomer posted about falling asleep at the wheel after a sleepless night caused by a crying baby and a dodgy smoke alarm that went off a few times. His wife called him on the mobile about 2 seconds after he had nodded off at the wheel. It brings to mind the bloke that was up all night on a chatroom, fell asleep and caused the Hatfield train disaster. I thought that his punishment was a bit harsh, but it was certainly increased by the effect of his conduct.

I suppose the lesson must be that if you break the law, you take the risk that this will happen.
Joyrider gets 4 years. - cockle {P}
Given my recent experience of a death by dangerous driving case it does seem lenient.
Back in April a woman with whom I'd worked for the best part of fifteen years was killed while crossing the A127 in Southend. She was crossing the dual carriageway on the pedestrian phase of a set of lights when a car jumped the lights and hit her at approx 55mph in a 40 limit. Evidence was given that the driver had been veering from lane to lane at speeds up to 60 shortly before the collision and he had crossed the red light some 20 odd seconds after it had changed.
When the case finally came to trial, the week before Christmas, the driver got five years, banned and ordered to retake a test after his ban.
Given the circumstances comparing cases it would appear that either the driver in my case was dealt with slightly harshly or the driver in the other was lucky considering he caused three deaths.
Whichever view you take, as others have already said, it won't bring my friend back to her husband, family and colleagues. It really wouldn't change much if he'd got fifteen years, it might have made her husband feel that his wife's life was a bit more valued. I do know that I lost an admired friend and colleague who will never be replaced come what may.
I hope that in a maximum of 8 years when he has been released and passed a test he will be a safer driver and suitably contrite.

Joyrider gets 4 years. - Oz
This is a harrowing personal account as indeed all such tragedies must be. I'm sure that no level of punishment can put right the wrong, or take away the sense of injustice.
Joyrider gets 4 years. - HF
Wasn't going to say any more here - but just want to say 'well done' to Dave18, who has made his mistake and obviously learned from it.

All other points, well I will refrain from commenting today, I think.
Joyrider gets 4 years. - Dwight Van Driver
Re Mark's post 1623-090103

In my niaive younger days I posed a similar question as Mark
to a very wise old Sergeant who told me something along
these lines.

For every action there is a consequence.

A small action can have a small consequence
A small action can have a large consequence
A large action can have a small consequence
A large action can have a large consequence.

The basis of English Law despite some flaws is allegedly
its fairness.

It does not treat all actions the same because
of the mitigation of consequence. Otherwise
as in the examples quoted by Mark they would be treat the same,
so the small action with the lesser consequence would receive an apparent harsh punishment and the
small action with the larger consequence a seemingly lesser punishment. Likewise a drug shooting is not the same as a long suffering battered wide shooting her husband, but the action (killing) is the same.This would not be acceptable to the Public.

Part of why we conceive a punishment as puny is that we are
not privy to all the circumstances etc as that of the Trial Judge
who bases his assesment of what is before him and sentences
accordingly. These facts are seldomly reported in the Press as they do not make sensational reading.



Value my car