Valuing Lives…

More than 400 people have signed a petition pleading for leniency in the case of a doctor found guilty of hitting and killing a pensioner while driving his sports car.

He must be a hell of a doctor, given the circumstances of the case.

Support for Dr Aloke Basu, 66, has swelled among his patients since the jury at Basildon Crown Court reached its verdict last month.Staff at Deejay Pharmacy, which adjoins Dr Basu’s practice in Campfield Road, Shoebury, decided to start the petition to try to persuade Judge Alice Robinson to be sympathetic when she passes sentence on July 21.

Is this usual? Does the court accept petitions from complete strangers?

Dilip Patel, one of the pharmacy’s owners, said: “Obviously, a life has been lost and that cannot be undone.“We are not questioning the jury’s verdict, but we are saying that someone who has served the community for 36 years deserves to have that taken into account.

“The response we have had has been huge. Even before we started the petition, people were calling for us to do something like this.”

Is it because this was a freak accident, something no-one could be expected to foresee?

Well, no:

Dr Basu was suffering from cataracts in both eyes, advanced glaucoma and shortsightedness when his Porsche hit grandmother Shirley Watkins on February 5 last year.

Physician, heal thyself….

Mr Patel said: “I have been here for 30 years and I know what he is like.“You cannot take back what has been done, but all we want is for the judge to know what sort of person he is and take that into account.”

And what about what sort of person Shirley Watkins was? Should that matter?

Comments are illuminating:

the citizen, says…Whilst it is a sadness that the community will lose a competent public servant, it can NEVER be acceptable for leniency to be given on that basis. Not everyone has the ability or skill to become a GP but they should not receive any less justice for that. Otherwise leniency is only available to the few. The pensioners life is no less valuable just because a doctor caused the accident than, say, a yob. If both were inhibited by an eye condition then the yob and the doctor should receive the same justice. The doctor is actually without excuse as he should have known that his eyesight was not suitable for driving – which enhances wreck-less endangerment. The petition itself reflects a poor lack of judgement and expresses a desire for a miscarriage of appropriate justice and a devaluation of the life of the pensioner. A sad case but remember…life has been lost, we are not talking about a minor matter.

Quite.

Some, in their desire to exonerate the doctor, decide to chide the victim for not using the nearby crossing, which actually only increases the doctor’s guilt:

David McDonagh, SS2 6JU says…Remember everyone, Dr Basu drove for NINE years in this condition…each time he drove to surgery to treat you he risked people’s lives. NINE YEARS, how many thousands of times has he got behind the wheel without being able to see properly, without being insured (no insurance company would uphold his condition(s), unable to see properly…he may have been a good GP and a really nice guy… but honest – come on….all those eye operations, tests he failed…be fair…he was a danger on the road and he killed an INNOCENT woman, crossing where there is a tarmac path…yes, not a good place…but well used. The other driver saw her!

And if instead, the other driver had hit her, would his status in the community have been taken into account?

No? Then neither should Doctor Basu’s, should it?

Agree? Disagree? Comments are open…

32 comments for “Valuing Lives…

  1. john in cheshire
    June 12, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Yet another muslim killing a non-muslim and then wanting special treatment. After all it was just a kafir that died. How on earth was this entity allowed to practise medicine – or is that also a concession because he is muslim?

    • PT
      June 12, 2011 at 11:41 am

      JIC, admittedly I’ve not exactly pored over the newspaper article, or the comments below it, but none of what I have read supports your comment above in any way. It would indeed be reprehensible were your comment supported, but I saw nothing to suggest either that Dr Basu is actually a Muslim, or that he or his supporters seek leniency on that basis.

      • john in cheshire
        June 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm

        PT, I may have been a little rash in my assumption regarding his religion – I too cannot confirm it. That’s a consequence, I’m afraid, of immigrants constantly wanting to be shown special treatment when they commit crimes and it is usually a muslim involved. If he isn’t muslim, the I withdraw the accusation on that basis. But I don’t recall indigenous ‘communities’ signing petitions when someone breaks the law, asking the judge to be lenient. The man was obviously a danger to his patients, and other road-users; and he must have known it. He’s a disgrace.

        • C H Ingoldby
          June 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm

          For what it’s worth, all the doctors at the surgery are Muslim, as are the pharmacists at the Pharmacy attached to the surgery. They seem decent enough.

          My initial sympathy for the doctor has somewhat diminished as I consider that he was driving for several years while suffering fom extremely poor vision. At the very least that was dangerously reckless.

          A sad case all round.

        • June 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

          “That’s a consequence, I’m afraid, of immigrants constantly wanting to be shown special treatment when they commit crimes…”

          Spot on! And that’s why the doctrine of ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘hate crime’ legislation is so damned poisonous.

          • john in cheshire
            June 12, 2011 at 4:36 pm

            JuliaM and Mark Wadsworth, thank you for your agreement. I don’t want to spoil my position on this issue, but I have to say something that I neglected to say previously; namely, that the immigrants I am talking about are not, repeat NOT, from first world countries. They are always from the third world. Until we as a country internalise this truism and deal with these people accordingly, they will continue to proliferate and wreck our civilisation.

    • Balanced view
      June 12, 2011 at 6:58 pm

      John from Cheshire , your ignorance displays itself on Dr Basu! Not all foreign names mean they are Muslim .. Dr Basu is in fact Indian and a Hindu, acting as a GP for the same community 90% White since 1976 and is extremely highly regarded for the care and compassion he has displayed during the years. The pharmacist also referred to in later posts is also non Muslim . It would appear John you rather have a problem here to jump to such conclusions without foundation.

    • penny
      June 20, 2011 at 9:50 pm

      John you are a complete BIGOT! who is doing nothing except trying to breed hatred, like you bigots do!
      Neither Dr Basu nor the phamacist are muslims! and so what if they were, I m sure they would not think twice in saving your sorry bigoted arse if you required urgent attention! I so hate nasty people like you!

  2. Robert Edwards
    June 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

    It does seem odd, to say the least, that a doctor (particularly such an experienced one) would not seek treatment for a condition of semi-blindness which surely would have impaired his effectiveness as a physician, let alone as a Porsche driver.

    This was clearly a terrible event and took place in a tiny sliver of time which had nothing to do do with the individual merits or social utility of either person involved. Dr. Basu’s disability, however, which was well-known and obviously known to him, may well have played a key role.

    In which case, his standing in the community is surely neither here nor there. Actually, given the gross irresponsibility of his actions, one may question that standing. Had he been drunk, or under the influence of something else, then this matter would not arise.

    But if one can’t see, then one might as well have been pissed for the effect would be just the same – blurred vision, slowed reactions, etc.

    He must take his bumps; I doubt he’ll do porridge anyway…

    • June 12, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      The effectiveness of his doctoring doesn’t seem to have been considered at all, only his driving. Possibly because (in theory) others would double-check doses, test results, etc.

  3. June 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    I think John in Cheshire has nailed it.

  4. June 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Actually, this case apart,it raises an interesting question about justice.
    If someone is known to be altruistic and community minded with a history of helping their fellows and then makes a mistake should their character and years of good intentions count towards greater lieniency compared to someone with a history of troublemaking and lack of respect for their fellows?

    • June 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      My gut instinct says ‘No’.

      • Lord T
        June 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm

        Yet I bet if someone could heal by laying their hands on someone they would literally get away with murder if they touched the right people.

  5. June 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I’m going to play a little Devil’s Advocate here, though only a little. A relative with cataracts had them kind of sneak up on her over a long period of time and really hadn’t noticed the very gradual deterioration in her eyesight. Almost certainly she was driving when she would have been wiser to stop until she got the ops done. And it wasn’t until after the ops to fix them that she realised how bad her eyes had got. Could he have been in the same situation? If opthalmology is his specialty then he certainly should have recognised the decline in his eyesight, but if he’s a GP or has a different specialty… well, he probably should still have noticed but he wouldn’t be the first doctor to have overlooked a problem with his own health. Christ, I’ve known more than one turn a – aha – blind eye to their own raging alcoholism and regularly drive, and probably practise, whilst pissed as a fiddler’s bitch. All male WASPs by the way, apart from any who were Catholics or Methodists or atheists or whatever. Certainly white and non-muslim though.

    “We are not questioning the jury’s verdict, but we are saying that someone who has served the community for 36 years deserves to have that taken into account.”

    And now Devil’s Advocate the other way. Like I said, he probably still should have sussed that something was up with his eyes and taken the appropriate action, and this should be taken into account just as his years of service to the community. I’m sure any competent judge would consider both as well as any other factors and balance all of them against the death he is directly responsible for. Let’s just hope she is a competent judge. Googling for reports of sentences she’s handed down look like it could go either way – she’s been (I think) fairly lenient with someone who sexually assaulted a 14 year old because they were both very drunk among other things, while on another occasion she gave a coke dealer 23 years. Maybe she will let him off with a non-custodial but I’d be inclined to see what happens before I stamp on the outrage pedal. Going to keep it just here though, all ready and waiting in case 😉

    • June 12, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      “And it wasn’t until after the ops to fix them that she realised how bad her eyes had got. Could he have been in the same situation?”

      It doesn’t appear as though that was the case, from the comments left at this article:

      “…this was on oath: Dr Basu was asked about how he monitored his eyesight and he said ‘ON OATH’ exactly what you have said…”it is ok to drive with glaucoma in one eye and full peripheral vision in the other” but the prosecutor Gerard Pounder then said ‘but you have glaucoma in BOTH eyes that is a fact’…Dr Basu ‘Yes’…..’so you would have to report the matter to DVLA anyway, that is a fact’….’I don’t agree with that’. “

      Now, that may not be a true accounting of the statement. But if it is…

      • June 12, 2011 at 5:58 pm

        Okay, assuming that’s accurate then he’s an absolute twat and was not so much unaware of the problem as, like those drunk driver docs I mentioned, deliberately ignoring it and pretending it’s just not there. In these parts the probable charge is more descriptive than that used in the UK: “Culpable driving causing death”. Since Victorian law treats it as a form of manslaughter (rightly so if you ask me) judges here generally seem to want people convicted of culpable driving to do some time. Oh, and that means years, not months. JuliaM, will you post on this again if he gets off with under, say, 18 months? And then just for interest I’ll see if I can find out what he might have got here.

        • June 12, 2011 at 6:04 pm

          I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on this one!

          • June 12, 2011 at 8:26 pm

            More than can be said for the doctor 😉

  6. June 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    It can be very difficult to comment on a case like this from reading the papers rather than being in court to see the trial. There must be a lot of information that we are just not privvy to.
    I have never been in favour of victims or victims families having any say in sentancing. They are usually more interested in vengance than justice, which is understandable but not acceptable.
    This would appear to be the same thing but in reverse.
    If your crime is your first offence then that is usually taken into consideration, as is your likelyhood of re-offending.
    In a case such as this where it was unintentional and unlikely to happen again, he will probably get the minimum sentance available.

    At the end of the day he killed a person through his bad judgement. He needs to face the consequences of that action in a manner that doesn’t diminish the meaning of the death of the person he killed. To me, that would involve a custodial sentance.

    On the matter of his standing in the community, I don’t think that should play a part in leniency. The only people who should have their sentances affected by their past history are career criminals. They should get stiffer sentances until they finally get it.

    In my opinion…

  7. June 13, 2011 at 5:45 am

    “I have never been in favour of victims or victims families having any say in sentancing. They are usually more interested in vengance than justice, which is understandable but not acceptable.”

    No, me neither. Yet something has to be done to redress the balance, since at the moment, before sentencing, the defence is allowed to introduce character witnesses and the judge can call for ‘reports’ (cunningly disguised ‘get out of jail free’ cards for the probation service) before sentencing.

    It’s this that has made victims feel they have no voice.

  8. June 13, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Dr Basu was suffering from cataracts in both eyes, advanced glaucoma and shortsightedness when his Porsche hit grandmother Shirley Watkins on February 5 last year.

    And he was legally driving. Y-e-e-e-s-s-s.

  9. Balanced views
    June 14, 2011 at 9:08 am

    John from Cheshire , your ignorance displays itself on Dr Basu! Not all foreign names mean they are Muslim .. Dr Basu is in fact Indian and a Hindu, acting as a GP for the same community 90% White since 1976 and is extremely highly regarded for the care and compassion he has displayed during the years. The pharmacist also referred to in later posts is also non Muslim . It would appear John you rather have a problem here to jump to such conclusions without foundation.

  10. Anne
    July 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Dr Basu was given a 2 year sentence.

    The Judge made a point of the fact that Dr Basu at no time has accepted responsibility for the life lost that day and referred to his arrogance.

    • July 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm

      Cheers, saw that earlier on the ‘Echo’ website, and I’ve drafted a follow up post.

      • Anne
        July 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm

        Can you provide a link to the follow up? Were you in court today?

        • July 21, 2011 at 7:59 pm

          Not yet, I can only link to it once published. I wasn’t in court.

          • Anne
            August 4, 2011 at 9:19 pm

            Hi JuliaM
            Just wondering if you still intend to post a follow up?
            Anne

  11. August 5, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Anne,

    Can’t post a direct reply as the thread’s too long, but yes, see the post entitled ‘Valuing Lives: Postscript’ here.

Comments are closed.