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Well, no, not really

A “heroic driver” who intervened to try to prevent a mother of two being stabbed to death should not be charged with murder, the victim’s family said on Tuesday.

Yasmin “Wafah” Chkaifi, 43, was killed just a few minutes away from her home on a busy road outside the entrance to a park in Maida Vale, west London, on Monday morning.

A 26-year-old motorist is alleged to have run over and killed the suspected knifeman, Leon McCaskre, during the assault, before being arrested on suspicion of murder. He has since been released on bail.

The knifeman, who was Ms Chkaifi’s ex-partner, was said to have been crushed beneath the wheels of the Renault Clio while “begging for help”.

That’s not how it works. Or, sorry, not how I think it should work.

It’s pretty clear he killed the bloke. It’s pretty clear there was at least some forethought to it. He’s not claiming his hand just slipped on the wheel after all.

So, there’s a case for a murder charge there. Who gets to decide whether he’s guilty of it or not? The jury, that’s what they’re therefore. So, trial and see what they say.

34 thoughts on “Well, no, not really”

  1. There would be a case for self defence, intervening to save another.
    The question is whether the use of force was proportionate. I think there are two factors; others had tried to intervene but been held back by the attached use of a knife; the car was allowed to remain on the attacker after the threat had been resolved – the attacker died under the car after calling “help me”.

    So yes, I think investigate and perhaps put it to a jury. I am pretty sure where my sympathies would lay, and it wouldn’t be with the murderer under the wheels of a car.

    Bringing a knife to a car fight and losing?

  2. I wouldn’t say it was clear that the driver had forethought about murdering the murderer. I would say that he planned to push the murderer away from the victim. In effect self defence of another. That the murderer fell under the car couldn’t be planned. That he then panicked and didn’t remove the car from on top of the murderer is why the murderer is now dead.

  3. @Jonathan Miller: Can we say ‘the car was allowed to remain on the attacker after the threat had been resolved’..?

    It took Fire Rescue to free him after all, although (not sadly) far too late.

    The key takeaway from this, however, is that the police are eager to arrest someone who does their job for them, yet failed to do the job we paid them for, if the claims of the family are proven.

  4. The decision to prosecute should only be made if there’s a realistic prospect of conviction at trial. If running down the knife wielding maniac was the only way to prevent the woman being murdered (which interviewing witnesses, checking CCTV etc should be able to confirm), there’s no realistic prospect of conviction, and there should be no charge.

  5. Harry Haddocks Ghost

    It’s pretty clear he killed the bloke. It’s pretty clear there was at least some forethought to it. He’s not claiming his hand just slipped on the wheel after all.

    Looking forward to your article explaining how every single firearms officer, soldier, and so on, who has ever killed anyone should face a murder charge, and the life ruining event that would be a trial. After all, its pretty clear that they intended to kill the deceased, and there was some forethought to it, in every. single. case.

    Meanwhile, also look forward to nobody helping you when you’re being stabbed to death as they don’t much fancy loosing their job, house, all of their savings, etc etc.

    I think the rest of us can see this for what it is; the pigs getting upset because someone has dared to challenge their monopoly powers.

  6. The key question is whether the attacker was still mid-attack when the self defence occurred. Is using a car a proportionate use of force when facing a knife wielder? Probably. Did the driver reasonably believe that the action was taken to prevent equally serious harm to another? Probably. On this basis, CPS will probably decline to prosecute.

    Even if the attack was over, did the driver reasonably believe that more harm was likely as a result of the man wielding the knife? This would then become a matter of fact, if the attacker had been clear that “it’s a private matter!” the self defence if the attack had ended would be more difficult to assert. Of course there’s the issue of what the driver knew and understood.

    It’s perfectly normal for the cops to arrest in a case like this and to consider a murder charge. Someone did die as a result of the actions of the driver. Depending on the facts, the CPS will decide on whether to charge or not.

  7. You can’t win in this situation.

    Best to just let the perpetrators get on with murdering people and threatening behaviour with a weapon.

    Follow the example of the police chief/officer who sat in his car while one of his subordinates was being stabbed outside the houses of parliament.

    At least, that’s the society we’re heading towards.
    So what if the stabby man was left under a car. The bloke who run him down should be commended for actually doing something – the bystander effect is powerful.
    The police should be ashamed of themselves for charging this man, and it’s just further evidence that they aren’t currently fit for purpose.

  8. @Chernyy Drakon: I fear any police still capable of shame at how low their role has sunk in the eyes of the normally law-abiding have already left.

    And what Harry Haddock said. In spades.

  9. And the uniformed thug who fired 15 bullets into some brazilian electrician’s head?
    And the waste-of-space officer-in-charge that was responsible for the fuck-up?
    When were their murder trials then?

    No, only the peasants are subject to this, and the poor sod will be crucified for doing the plod’s job for them.

  10. From the article:
    Detective Chief Inspector Neil Rawlinson, of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said members of the public had “bravely tried to intervene to stop the attack and their actions were very courageous”.

    He added: “A man, who was the driver of a car, has been arrested and bailed for a very serious offence and we must carry out a full investigation, looking at all the circumstances.”

    Don’t they normally do the investigation before arresting someone?

    Also, really who gives a shit about the stabby man being under the car? He was threatening other people there as well. Letting him out would have produced a threat to everyone there who was trying to help the woman.

    FFS! Are we the only country in the world that’s this fucked up?

  11. “Who gets to decide whether he’s guilty of it or not? The jury, that’s what they’re therefore. So, trial and see what they say”

    No. That is against legal ethics. The jury dice are only to be rolled if the case against is very strong.

  12. I’m no fan of the police as they get it wrong more times than they get it right. But even I do think they should still have arrested the driver and charged him with something, maybe manslaughter rather than murder. It is not their job to be judge jury and executioner, they just collect the evidence and let the courts and juries decide based on the whole context.

    It’s also important how the police arrested the driver. If they handcuffed him and placed him the cells for hours before interviewing him at some ungodly hour in the morning then bailed him with draconian conditions then they have no morals or ethics. If they just asked him to get in the police car, took him to the station, interviewed him straight away with a nice cup of tea, then took him home with no bail conditions then they are not robots and are actually human.

  13. “Looking forward to your article explaining how every single firearms officer, soldier, and so on, who has ever killed anyone should face a murder charge”

    I thought – but fully expect to be corrected if I’m wrong – that that is indeed precisely what happens. In the event that firearms officers shoot and kill someone, they are charged with murder immediately on return to the station for the debrief. Plod then runs the investigation to show that this was in fact done in accordance with RoE and whatnot and then drops the charge. But the officer(s) firing the shots are charged and are essentially suspended pending the outcome of that investigation.

    That’s a good thing. At least does something to keep the firearms officers honest.

    “Don’t they normally do the investigation before arresting someone?”
    Only a bit of it – enough to support an arrest. They then do some more investigating before deciding to charge.

  14. And the uniformed thug who fired 15 bullets into some brazilian electrician’s head?
    That is the clincher, isn’t it?
    From what I remember, there was an “enquiry” that exonerated all concerned. No arrests no charges.

  15. Harry Haddocks Ghost: the police don’t have monopoly powers. We have a Peelite police force, all citizens are “police”, the paid police are only distinguished by being paid to allow them to dedicate their full time to it. The police complaining about the pubic interveening to stop an ongoing incident are just guild members protecting their guild.

  16. Under French law he could have been charged with the crime of non assistance to a person in danger if he was in possession of the means (a Clio) to defend a person and did not use it (to run down the attacker). Under English law he gets arrested.
    Tricky, this law stuff.

  17. SBML: ’… even I do think they should still have arrested the driver and charged him with something, maybe manslaughter rather than murder. It is not their job to be judge jury and executioner, they just collect the evidence and let the courts and juries decide based on the whole context.’

    If this chap had been stabbing a cop to death, you think they’d have arrested and charged the motorist?

  18. TP-D: ’In the event that firearms officers shoot and kill someone, they are charged with murder immediately on return to the station for the debrief‘

    No, I really don’t think this is how it works…

  19. It is not their job to be judge jury and executioner, they just collect the evidence and let the courts and juries decide based on the whole context.

    The police have a lot of power in this respect.
    They are the ones who decide whether to refer a case to the CPS or whether to drop it in most cases.
    Otherwise every little thing could be referred and the CPS overwhelmed.

    Of course, they’re going to go after this bloke. They don’t like the idea of people defending themselves.

  20. I’m sorry, but isn’t protecting criminals from harm caused by their victims’ resistance or people coming to their aid one of a liberal society’s great concerns?

  21. @TD
    I would disagree.
    Protecting criminals from acts of violent retribution should be a concern.
    But protecting from harm inflicted while trying to protect a victim from further harm by their assailant should not be a concern.

    So in this case, we have Stabby McStaberson who had allegedly already stabbed one woman 10 times and threatened others.
    He was restrained with the tools available – a Renault Clio.
    The Police were then called to restore order and when they arrived they could utilise other more suitable restraint methods – handcuffs. Unfortunately their response was slow so Mr Stabby died on the scene. No big loss.

    Maybe if people could carry personal defence equipment, one or more of these people may still be alive. Someone could have restrained or stopped the alleged Mr Stabby sooner and more appropriately than parking a car on him. Pepper spray? Oh, no that’s classed as a firearm. :eyeroll:

  22. @JuliaM, in the case of a person attacking a cop with a knife and the driver killing the knifeman, then no they probably won’t charge the driver with murder but hail him as a hero. And that’ll be where they’ve gone wrong and think their activities and anyone who supports them is above the law. Part of it will be not liking that their job has been done by someone else (as mentioned elsewhere in the comments).

    @Chernyy Drakon, police can drop cases if the evidence doesn’t allow for a conviction. But in this case there is enough evidence. As has been highlighted by many barristers and lawyers about the recent jury nullification cases, that’s the process of law, even if the result is not guilty. So if the jury in this case do decide to find the driver not guilty, then the law has been followed properly. Weird, but that’s how the law works.

  23. Give him a medal, say I. My only caveat is that it would be wise to check whether he had any personal animus against the murderer. If not, medal it is.

  24. Well let me illustrate a different way to handle it.

    Here in large parts of the US, the initial investigation and witness testimony would have shown that this was self defense. The suspect would claim self defense.

    In such a circumstance the suspect would not have been arrested and charged. Instead the investigation would continue and unless evidence to put doubt on the self defense claim popped up – no, the prosecutor would not charge.

    That’s not the whole US of course – many places will charge a murder in a heartbeat. And even in places like I’m talking about, doubt gets you a trial.

    But it becomes a trial where the prosecution has to prove that the defendant wasn’t defending themselves or other.

  25. @Chernyy Drakon – “Don’t they normally do the investigation before arresting someone?”

    No. That’s quite rare. Normally people are arrested for questioning as part of the investigation.

    One of the features of being arrested is that it entitles you to a lawyer – either the free duty solicitor or any solicitor you like if you’re paying. In a case like this, the police may have wished to make sure the driver had adequate advice before saying anything potentially incriminating.

  26. I think & certainly hope DocBud has it right. The driver would not be charged in the US under the events as described, though it would be check out.

    I’m in the US & would certainly use any means at hand to kill someone stabbing another, especially a man killing a fem, cuz I’m old-school man/fem. We have open & concealed carry of guns just for this purpose. And just as cops are trained, when you shoot, shoot multiple times cuz a knife wielder can still get to you & stab you (video of policewoman shooting & hitting a knife wielder several times before he fell).

    If the bad guy was unarmed, e.g. trying to choke the fem to death, perhaps a warning 1st, but shooting if he does not stop or comes at you, cuz no sense in letting a murder proceed or yourself possibly being beaten to death.

    The US is going to hell in many ways, but we’re still gun slingers & often doing the right thing.

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