Monday, 16 February 2009

Remember this coverage

Take a look at the BBC news front page and you will see the top story is entitled
"Driver guilty of M6 family deaths"
with the subtext
"A lorry driver is jailed for three years for causing the deaths of a family of six in a crash on the M6."
and the three further links entitled
"Grief for 'model' crash family
Fatal crash driver 'used laptop'
Funeral for M6 crash family "

This is the full text(at the moment) of the page devoted to the story:

"A Portuguese lorry driver has been jailed for causing the deaths of a family of six by careless driving.

David and Michelle Statham and their four children, from Llandudno, north Wales, died when a lorry hit their car as they travelled home from Birmingham.

Paulo Jorge Nogueira da Silva, 46, had denied causing the deaths by dangerous driving or by careless driving on the M6 in Cheshire last October.

He was jailed for three years by a judge at Chester Crown Court.

Da Silva was convicted of six counts of causing death by careless driving by a majority verdict of 11-1. He was found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

After the verdict, Michelle's father Peter Hagans said his family had been devastated Da Silva was found guilty of the "lesser charge".

He said: "I think from the night of the accident when Mr da Silva butchered our family, which I believe he did, it was not possible to get justice in a British court."

Thirty-eight-year-old chef Mr Statham and Michelle, 33, who were originally from Sutton Coldfield, made the journey to the Midlands partly to introduce their 10-week-old baby, Ellouise, to family and friends.

They were also travelling with sons Reece, 13, Jay, nine, and Mason, 20 months as they headed home from visiting Mrs Statham's parents.

However, the family died when their silver people carrier burst into flames after it was involved in a five-vehicle pile-up between junctions 16 and 17 on the M6.

CPS statement on M6 verdict

Andrew Thomas QC, prosecuting, had told the jury there was a possibility that at the time of the crash Da Silva was using a global positioning system on his laptop computer to work out an alternative route.

Da Silva denied using the computer while he was driving, but police found it by the driver's seat with the screen turned to face the driver.

Speaking to the court the judge, Mr Justice Irwin, said: "Anyone who has heard of the case could not help but have strong, indeed overwhelming, sympathy for the families of those who died, a whole family wiped out."

Sentencing da Silva, the judge said: "I bear in mind the maximum sentence is five years.

"Although six deaths, this was one episode and the prison sentences must be concurrent.

"This was one of the most serious offences of its kind."

Da Silva was told he would serve at least 18 months of his sentence in jail.

Court 'a circus'

Outside court, Cheshire chief crown prosecutor Ian Rushton said evidence showed the Stathams' car was crushed between a large lorry, which had been queuing in a long tailback because of an earlier accident, and Da Silva's truck.

Mr Rushton said Da Silva admitted in court he had seen the electronic signs warning the M6 was closed and slowed down as a result "but could not explain how the collision happened".

"The prosecution said that it was clear that for a period of around a minute, Paulo da Silva was not paying proper attention to the road and fatally hit the Stathams' van with his 40-tonne lorry," Mr Rushton said.

Expressing his anger at the sentence, Mr Hagans told a news conference the court was "not much more than a circus".

He said: "The only difference being that the man in red in the circus wears a top hat and not a wig."

Mr Stratham's uncle, Alan Moult, added the deaths had left all his family "very empty". "

Now compare this with what the BBC published when Lord Ahmed was found guilty of a similar offence:

"The sentencing of a Labour peer who sent and received text messages while driving on the M1 where he was involved in a fatal crash has been adjourned.

Lord Ahmed, 51, of Rotherham, was driving his Jaguar when he collided with another car on Christmas Day 2007.

The driver of the vehicle, Martyn Gombar, 28, was killed.

Lord Ahmed, who admits driving dangerously, appeared before Sheffield magistrates on Monday. The case will go before the crown court on 19 January.

Sheffield Magistrates' Court heard how Lord Ahmed received three text messages and sent two while driving on the M1, between junctions 40 and 35, near Rotherham.

Some time after sending and receiving the text messages, he collided with Mr Gombar's Audi, which had stopped in the outside lane after crashing into the central reservation.

Steve Smith, Lord Ahmed's solicitor, told the court the peer was "rendered momentarily unconscious" by the impact of the crash and suffered a very serious head injury.

Lord Ahmed was never charged over the crash but admitted one charge of dangerous driving in connection with sending and receiving the text messages while driving.

Mr Smith said: "This man is not responsible for any accident. What he is responsible for is stupidity. I say that because it is a word he has used himself."

'Bad driving'

The solicitor said that despite being told otherwise, his client still felt responsible for Mr Gombar's death.

"He still walks within that shadow and I think he always will," he said.

District Judge Mark Hadfield said this was a case of "prolonged driving, which is clearly bad driving and dangerous driving".

He told Lord Ahmed he drove "without regard to yourself, your passengers and other road users".

He said the aggravating features meant Lord Ahmed should be sentenced in the crown court.

He was released on bail and an interim driving ban, imposed at an earlier hearing, was extended until his next court appearance.

Lord Ahmed was appointed to the House of Lords in 1998 and has lived in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, since childhood."

And get ready to compare it with the page that may appear once Lord Ahmed is sentenced on 25 February. Lord Ahmed faces a maximum of two years in jail.

Somehow I think that Lord Ahmed's case will be covered more sympathetically by the Labour loving, minorities protecting BBC.

I am informed that one difference is that:
"It would seem Ahmed got himself a good lawyer. He wasn't done for 'causing death by dangerous driving' but pleaded guilty to simple "dangerous driving".

This means that there has been no linkage in evidence between the texting and the death.

That means Ahmed must be treated like anyone else who is done simply for texting while driving, as opposed to someone who has caused death while texting. His lawyer (Steve Smith) is very hot on the point that his client was not done for causing the death. No doubt he has made this clear to the meejah."

Thank heavens for lawyers.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

That sympathy is evident.

Will he get sent down? I would be most surprised. That said, he would not be out of place - our jails are full of Muslims and their is halal meat and imans on hand. What a day for justice if he was.

Think a driving ban, fine and costs will be more appropriate.

What gets me about this guy is he is another complete and utter waste of carbon material that has some how managed to get a peerage. Reading his biographies online I can see nothing, not a big fat PORK sausage, to explain what he has done to deserve it. What a sham.