Changing the Driving Laws

This all seems to have got everyone terribly confused.

Drivers who kill could escape being sent to jail under new sentencing guidelines for the courts.

The new proposals are set to put judges on a collision course with prosecutors because they appear to end a crackdown on dangerous driving, announced last month.

I\’m drawing on something that The Magistrate said and I hope I\’ve got all of it right.

Last month the CPS published guidelines recommending that motorists caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving could be jailed for two years.

The Crown Prosecution Service does not in fact decide what sentences people get. Judges do that. Further, the CPS does not determine who is found guilty of what crime, juries do that. What the CPS does do is determine who gets charged with what crimes. So the new guidelines were instructions to the CPS\’ own staff as to what they should charge people with given certain circumstances. There was no change in the law whatsoever.

Only those found by the courts to have been "dangerously distracted" by a mobile phone, an iPod or another electronic device, will be routinely jailed, it was reported last night. The Sentencing Guidelines Council is headed by Lord Phillips, the Lord Chief Justice, and lays down rules on sentencing for judges and magistrates.

What the Sentencing Council is discussing is the penalties that should apply given a finding of guilty (by a jury) on specific charges. This has entirely bugger all to do with what the CPS decides to charge someone with. There is no conflict here at all.

Now, given that I, with no legal training, and on the basis of a single blog post from one wih such training, am able to work this out, why can\’t a newspaper?

2 thoughts on “Changing the Driving Laws”

  1. Because you have an interest in the facts not the story?

    I don’t think that they “can’t” report it correctly, I think it is not in their economic interests to do so. They can spew forth some prose that will appeal to their readership without bothering to take the time necessary to do the research. From their point of view, that seems to be a double-edged win.

    Pity about “truth” but I suppose that is another casualty of cultural relativity and the ubiquitous media studies degree.

  2. Imagine a journalist who does a good job: who diligently researches a story, spends two hours doing it via Wikipedia even. Then discovers “nothing to see here”. What does he then do? Look at a new item? No, he follows a “narrative” and puts out some kind of twisted story.

    Fortunately, those in the blogosphere with an ounce of critical reasoning can shut down such a story in a paragraph.

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