Glasgow bin lorry crash driver will not be prosecuted except through a private prosecution

(22 Posts)
PegsPigs Wed 19-Aug-15 17:33:30

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-33989738

Despite him lying about his medical history which seems completely at odds with being a professional driver. I understand he can't be expected to incriminate himself during the inquiry but there seems plenty of other evidence regarding his inconsistencies on job application forms.

Isitmebut Thu 20-Aug-15 09:26:18

I have little doubt that this driver will feel deep remorse until his last day on earth, but several people died due to a medical condition he failed to disclose which I guess would have prevented him getting a driving job in the first place.

So I cannot understand why this was not a 'public' matter, as from his application to the deaths of the general public, if no offence was committed, one would assume that he is still employed as a driver.

The law is there to both protect and judge its citizens, taking into account the circumstances and the offenders remorse, so while a public prosecution would not bring the victims back to their loved ones - what makes this any difference to any other motoring offence that through some form of driver negligence, citizens on our streets died?

PegsPigs Fri 21-Aug-15 13:48:26

Agree Isitmebut I'm sure he feels huge remorse but the medical rules about driving are there to protect both the driver and those around him, be it passengers or pedestrians. If he isn't prosecuted for lying on an application form related to driving, where is the deterrent for others? I've often seen dilemmas on MN where people are worried someone they know isn't fit to drive but taking away their licence would impact on their independence. Taking away this man's professional licence would have impacted on his ability to be employed but saved lives. To me it's clear he took a risk which other people paid for so he could have a job. The law should also act as a deterrent and if there are no legal consequences for the driver what message does that send to others thinking of lying to get a job?

HaroldsBishop Fri 21-Aug-15 14:28:17

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-34016267

According to that he has actually REAPPLIED for his driving licence since the accident! What the actual fuck?!!?!?!

redshoeblueshoe Fri 21-Aug-15 14:38:13

Err totally disagree - he has shown no remorse

PegsPigs Fri 21-Aug-15 14:51:42

Crikey that article sums up exactly my position except the fact he's pursuing getting his licence back shows absolutely no remorse. Does he not understand that it was his actions which caused these consequences? As one QC puts it he's alright Jack. And of course he's refusing to answer for fear of incriminating himself but as a QC puts it, if it was his daughter wouldn't he want to know. I'm less and less empathetic towards him the more I read.

Isitmebut Fri 21-Aug-15 14:53:43

I wonder if the law is being 'strong armed' by the local authority into dropping the case, which throws up more questions.

sleepyhead Fri 21-Aug-15 15:01:47

From what I can work out from the coverage:

- lying on an application form, to your GP, and failure to disclose an existing condition to the DVLA are not criminal offences (in Scotland, there was speculation that he could somehow be prosecuted in England/Wales due to DVLA involvement but that doesn't seem to have gone anywhere).

- lying on an application form is certainly gross misconduct and he has been suspended by Glasgow City Council and will presumably be sacked in due course

- There is grave doubt that the application for a private prosecution will be accepted. I think there have been two in Scotland? However, as soon as the families signalled their intention to go ahead with one it was certain that the driver would answer no questions at the enquiry. He will certainly have been advised by his lawyer that he should not.

I really hope the families get the answers they need. I have a horrible feeling that they won't. I hope the private prosecution brings them some sense of closure. I've a horrible feeling it won't.

I wonder if new laws will be proposed on the back of this case? If the law in England & Wales is different then it would certainly be worth looking at whether Scotland should be brought into line.

sleepyhead Fri 21-Aug-15 15:02:49

Glasgow City Council couldn't strong arm a puppy never mind the criminal justice system hmm

PegsPigs Fri 21-Aug-15 16:16:25

Does anyone know why he isn't being prosecuted?

sleepyhead Fri 21-Aug-15 16:23:58

Like I said, my understanding is that he isn't being prosecuted because under Scots Law he has committed no crime.

Lightbulbon Fri 21-Aug-15 16:36:14

The procurator fiscal (the Scots version of cps) decided not long after the crash that there wasn't enough evidence to convict him of any crime (beyond reasonable doubt is needed for a criminal trial as opposed to 'on the balance of probabilities' for a civil case). This now seems to have been a hasty mistake.

The dvla could have prosecuted but dont seem to have given any reason other than they couldn't be arsed.

howabout Fri 21-Aug-15 16:46:47

As it was reported on the news I saw, he isn't being prosecuted because there was no intent to black out and thus kill people. My own uncle died of a heart attack at the wheel of his car (he had no previous indicators) - fortunately no-one else was injured. These things do happen and plenty of people prone to fainting or worse drive. I do not think the focus should be on the driver, especially if it detracts from areas where real improvements could be made to improve public safety.

Private prosecutions in Scotland are not just uncommon but are exceedingly rare, so I am doubtful that this one will go ahead. If this is the case then it is unfortunate that the prospect of it is enough to allow the driver to be less than full and frank in the current proceedings.

I think the more pertinent questions are why bin lorries were doing collections in the middle of the day during packed Christmas shopping and why bin lorries do not have anyone else empowered to avert a tragedy should the driver take ill.

I also think the DVLA criteria for denying someone a licence on health grounds are quite lax and issues surrounding the testing have been raised in the trial. One of the expert witnesses questioned whether the decision of the council or the DVLA would have been any different had they known the full facts.

PegsPigs Fri 21-Aug-15 20:24:43

Fully appreciate Scottish law is different to English law but very surprised this sequence of events is not a crime somehow. I saw how rare a private prosecution is and it's a shame if it doesn't go ahead in a sense because it's the threat of that which is preventing the driver from fully disclosing the details. Surely the DVLA system and therefore prosecution policy must come into question?

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Fri 21-Aug-15 21:16:27

Of course it's a crime. The obvious ones are:

Lying / with-holding info from the dvla (punishable by fine & possible prosecution as per their website)
Lying / with-holding info from the police who came to the scene and investigated (ie he didn't say "oh I blacked out well yes this has happened before did he) so that's got to be a crime
I cannot for a moment understand why this (driving when impaired) could not be prosecuted under reckless endangerment / dangerous driving / some other thing. Laws are written quite broadly so as to give scope when a prosecution is desirable.

Bottom line is the dvla could have gone after him, and I'm sure if the prosecutors had been interested they would have found something to get him under. Because he lied to the dvla (by omission), he lied to his employer, he lied to the police, he drove when he knew he was impaired, he had blacked out at the wheel before leading to a loss of his job, and he killed 6 people.

Then after he killed 6 people he asked for his licence back a handful of months later, which is obviously not a crime, but certainly speaks to his character and demonstrates that he a. couldn't give a fuck about all those people he killed (15 were injured as well) and b. is quite happy to take the risk of it happening again.

"These things do happen and plenty of people prone to fainting or worse drive. I do not think the focus should be on the driver"

Bollocks.

A person unexpectedly falling ill behind the wheel is entirely different to what happened here, and I have literally no idea why some people are so keen to say it wasn't his fault and he should face no consequences.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Fri 21-Aug-15 21:18:17

Oh and people who are prone to fainting shouldn't be behind the wheel obviously. Anyone who has a condition that means that they unexpectedly black out in situations such as being seated in a driving position shouldn't be steering a 1/2 tonne of metal around the roads. It's just obvious.

People are so bloody eager to turn a blind eye to the death and injury and all the rest caused by driving it pisses me off quite frankly.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Fri 21-Aug-15 21:21:47

oh blimey big rant different thread! There are 2 almost identical ones but this one is a lot shorter. So it's possible that howabout didn't know some of that stuff (reapplying for licence etc) and I haven't actually read this thread myself sorry blush

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Fri 21-Aug-15 21:26:25

other thread

howabout Fri 21-Aug-15 22:44:32

Massive rant Whirlpool. I would just say that if it were that clear cut then I am sure there would be a public prosecution as the impetus seems to be to point the finger at an individual rather than his employer (Glasgow City Council) or those who grant licences (the DVLA).

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Fri 21-Aug-15 22:54:30

Why do you feel so strongly that the driver should not be penalised in any way for this, howabout? In the light of all that has come out. Why does it feel so wrong to you that he should be prosecuted?

I'm genuinely interested as to me it is completely obvious that he should face a penalty for his actions that directly resulted in the deaths of so many people. i honestly don't get it.

howabout Fri 21-Aug-15 23:09:32

It is not that I think wrongdoing should not be prosecuted and punished if a case is proven. It is more that I prefer to trust the judgement of the prosecution service and the courts to act in the public interest more than I do the press and the court of public opinion as influenced by the press. I am very reticent about setting myself up as judge and jury in any circumstances but even less so when I do not have first hand knowledge of the facts.

I have now read the other thread but I am no further enlightened and I have heard conflicting expert reports on the state of the driver's health and the likelihood or predictability or further blackouts following his previous episode.

Lauren15 Fri 21-Aug-15 23:19:22

I am astonished at this man's responses when questioned today. Didn't he refuse to apologise? Doesn't he realise if he apologised and faced the consequences a lot of people, including possibly the victims' families, would have been able to forgive him? Now I don't see how he can continue to live in Glasgow like this. He will be despised. If he thinks he's saving his own skin with this strategy, he's deluded.

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