Thursday, April 24, 2008

Your defense is my annoyance.

Sometimes lawyers go to clever lengths to say "my client is an idiot". I have no problem with that defence. It's honest, and often it's true to boot.

However I believe this sort of defense should have life long repercussions. Take this guy:
Three months' jail for speedster Justin Pickering

A P-PLATER who hit speeds of 255km/h in a high performance rally car during a police chase from NSW to Melbourne has been jailed for three months.

It's pretty clear this guy is not a complete genius; anyone who speeds on the Hume is looking for trouble- with the cops, a truck, a tree etc.

In the TV news, they went to lengths to point out the car was the oh-so-fast Subaru WRX STi, a rare and wonderful car in the right hands at the right time.

...just not in this guy's hands. His defense went a little like this:
Defence lawyer Stan Waites said Pickering was developmentally delayed, and his parents had gone through great anguish to make him recognise he had a problem.

1/ WTF is "developmentally delayed"? Late bloomer? Total moron? Immature? Mentally retarded?
2/ How does a "Developmentally delayed" guy afford a $70,000 car?
3/ If he can't afford it, did his mum and dad buy it, thereby reducing their "great anguish" factor?
4/ Can people who are "developmentally delayed" get a license nowadays?

So here's what he got:

Magistrate Robert Kumar sentenced him to nine months jail, but suspended six months. He cancelled Pickering's license for five years, and fined him $2000.

In my mind, the jail sentence is appropriate as he has many car related offence priors (he has lost his license in multiple states) and the risks he took with other people's lives mean a custodial sentence is correct.

The $2000 fine is neither here nor there.

The license suspension for five years is woefully inadequate. If his defense has said he effectively has a mental issue that makes him an ongoing menace behind the wheel, then cancelling his license and banning him from driving for life is the only way forward.

I do not understand why we leave the door open for people to drive again. If he had a gun license and was firing bullets in the air recklessly, we would take the guns away for life. There would not be a suspension; "Are you ready to stop firing in the air randomly? Oh? You ARE? Good then, here they are!". We would just say "that's it bubba, you have blown your gun license"

But this guy could be driving again in five years, and frankly I do not want to share a city with him.

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posted by thr at 7:48 pm


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