…or fines, or being sued, or being generally punished for being at a crossroads where a minor mistake can have horrible consequences.
(Disclaimer: It’s Friday night and I’ve had a few scoops. I take no responsibility for ramblings, spelling errors or general nonsense. You have been warned)
Sometimes a belief that you have always had in the back of your mind can be can be suddenly confirmed in a larger than life way when you least expect it.
I have always (since I was old enough to understand) had the belief that we are only a few steps away from having our freedom removed by the government, a power that is too big to resist.
Sure, you may worry about something like getting mugged, but at least you can take sensible precautions to minimise the risk to an acceptable level. Anything from don’t walk home through the park to becoming a karate grand master.
A mugging could easily have fatal consequences if you have a lapse in judgement or even if you find yourself in circumstances that really are beyond your control, but at least you have a fighting chance.
What happens when you make a mistake that brings down the government and it’s law enforcers on you like a tonne of bricks?
When I was twenty two years old I read a story. I won’t attempt to look for a link if there is one right now so just believe me or don’t. It was about a successful businessman who was driving in his car when a child ran out in front of him. He had no chance to stop and he killed the kid outright.
It was an accident and it was not his fault. He didn’t even get arrested (this was 14 years ago) because the police could see that he was not to blame.
The kids parents sued his insurance company for compensation but it turned out that his car did not have an MOT so the insurance company refused to pay out. His car turned out to be a month out of MOT and he had simply forgotten to get it done. The car was in good mechanical condition, he was worth a few quid and didn’t drive bangers.
That should have been the end of it but because the parents found out he had money they went for a civil suite and completely cleaned him out.
Everything he had ever worked for all his life went to somebody else who hadn’t earned it because of an accident that wasn’t he fault. He lost his entire livelihood, not because of the death of a child but because of a lapsed MOT.
When somebody goes for a civil suite against a wealthy person, all they do is hire a private dick to find out his net worth, fairly easily done, and then sue for just short of that amount. The figure bears no relevance to the loss, just the worth of the target.
There was another story at the same time about a guy in law school who was accused of date rape and was arrested and tried. He was not guilty but the trial itself ruined his chances of continuing the career he was aiming for.
It was these two stories that made me become wary of the state and start to treat the law and it’s enforcers with trepidation rather than respect.
A railway guard found guilty of manslaughter following the death of a teenage girl who fell under a train was jailed for five years today.
Christopher McGee, 45, took a ‘terrible risk’ by giving the signal for the driver to depart as Georgia Varley, 16, was leaning against the carriage, a judge said.
The sixth-form college student, who was drunk on a night out in Liverpool with friends, fell between the train and the platform at the city’s James Street station in October last year as a result of McGee’s ‘appalling disregard for her safety’, a court heard.
Georgia, who was leaning against the train when the railway guard gave the signal for it to leave, was seen to stagger and fall into the gap as it moved away from the platform.
McGee was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence following a two week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
Jailing McGee for five years today, Mr Justice Holroyde said: ‘You did not intend to kill or even injure her, but you displayed an appalling disregard for her safety and she paid for your criminal negligence with her life.’
Georgia, from Moreton, Wirral, had gone into Liverpool for a night out with her friends when the incident happened on October 22 last year.
A blood analysis following her death showed she had 236mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in her system – the legal driving limit is 80mg.
She also had 0.083mg of the drug mephedrone, or Mcat, in her system at the time of her death.
‘We have listened as our daughter was portrayed as being a drunken liability when, in all honesty, she did no more than what many teenagers do of a weekend – she went out to celebrate her friend’s birthday.
Mr Justice Holroyde told the defendant today: ‘Much has been made on your behalf during this trial of how intoxicated Georgia was, but that did not relieve you of the duty of care which you owed to her.
Giving evidence, McGee had told the jury he thought Georgia was moving away from the train when he gave the signal to depart.
He also said he did not know how drunk she had been.