Accidents and crimes

I do not pretend to have an answer to this issue but it is interesting to note the two year sentence passed on Ciaran Brendan Laverty for the manslaughter of Aaron Montgomery. It must be stressed that Mr. Laverty immediately admitted his guilt and it seems completely clear that he did not intend to kill Mr. Montgomery. The contrast which might be worth noting is with Paulo Jorge Nogueira da Silva who was sentenced to three years after being convicted of causing the death by careless driving of a family of six in England. Mr. da Salvia had denied the charge and clearly had killed six people. However, in his case there was absolutely no deliberate intent, he was simply driving a lorry (though he may have been using a laptop sat nav system at the time of the accident). Had Mr. da Salvia been driving a family car the Statham family might well have survived?

I know I am comparing two different cases but I do feel that Mr. da Salvia’s crime was less serious: yet his sentence was longer. Clearly such is the size of an HGV that if it hits a family car there is a high chance of the car’s occupants dying; it seems now that some feel that there is no such thing as an accident and that if someone dies there is a high chance that there will be a prosecution. I have mentioned this issue in a previous blog but I do wonder whether some people are more likely to end up having their collusion accepted as simply an accident. I also find it a little difficult to accept that a careless mistake (as Mr. da Salvia) was convicted of is more serious than the deliberate punching of another individual. Clearly there was greater loss of life in Mr. da Salvia’s case and he did not plead guilty. However, as I mentioned above the loss of life was largely due to the size of his vehicle and he had some possibility of being found innocent. In both cases unsurprisingly the families are dissatisfied with the length of sentences handed out.

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