Saturday 9 May 2009

Another scandalous injustice

A killer driver, who had never taken a driving test and who ran down and killed a cyclist, walked free from court, will be allowed back on the roads in two years time, and was partly absolved from blame because the cyclist was not wearing a helmet.

A driver who knocked over a cyclist who later died has walked free from court. Denis Moore, who did not have a full driving licence, was given a suspended jail term for causing the death of 55-year-old James Jorgensen.

The court heard Mr Jorgensen was negotiating the roundabout on the B1287 North Road outside his home in Seaham's East Shore Village, when the back wheel of his bicycle was clipped by Moore's Hyundai Matrix.

In mitigation Ron Mitchell said Moore was of previous good character. "Mr Moore had not taken a test, but he had been driving without incident for eight years. All the evidence suggests he was driving responsibly this day, but he just did not see this cyclist. It was a momentary lapse."

Judge Richard Lowden said "Unpalatable as it may be to the family, you are entitled to put forward in mitigation the fact that Mr Jorgensen was not wearing a helmet." The judge disqualified Moore from driving for two years and ordered him to take an extended test if he wishes to drive again.

What’s more

Moore’s partner, Janice Bell, 41, a front seat passenger at the time of the accident, admitted permitting an unlicensed person to drive the car and was recently fined £108 with £43 costs by North Durham magistrates.

Which is a piddling, meaningless sum for a wilful act of criminal irresponsibility which resulted in the death of a cyclist. Neither Bell nor Moore should ever drive again. But Britain's judicial system comprehensively protects killer drivers and actively discriminates against vulnerable road users. And in a car supremacist society, the right to drive is regarded as the most fundamental human right of them all.