Carl Baxter (long)



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Danny Colyer

Guest
My MP has just forwarded the reply that he received from the Home Office when he passed on my
concerns about the leniency of Baxter's sentence. It goes on a bit without saying very much, but I'm
sure at least a couple of people will be interested:

Thank you for your letter dated 2 April 2003 on behalf of Mr. Danny Colyer of ..... regarding
sentencing policy for road traffic offences.

Danny refers to the recent case of Mr. Baxter, the driver who was sentenced to two years
imprisonment for reversing over a cyclist and his four-year old daughter. As you are no doubt
aware, I do not have the power to intervene in individual cases. I can, however, assure you and Mr
O'Neill [who? - Danny] that the Government is aware that lenient sentences undermine public
confidence in the criminal justice system. We are committed to reforming the criminal justice
system to ensure that offenders do not go unpunished and that victims are given the support they
require in the future.

I can assure you that the Government shares many of the concerns of the victims of road traffic
offences, regardless of whether the victims were bystanders, motorists or cyclists. The impact of
serious bad driving is often underestimated. In fact this kind of crime is extremely damaging, not
only in respect of the victims and their families, whose lives can be irreparably devastated, but
also as a significant threat to the security and general well being of our communities. It is vital
that the criminal justice system reflects the needs of the victims of these crimes as much as it
provides for the trial and sentencing of offenders.

Driving offences carry a range of penalties depending on the seriousness of the offence. Severe
penalties are rightly available for offences where the driver bears a greater responsibility for his
or her actions. The courts have been entrusted with powers by the Government, which they can use to
a varying degree, depending on the severity of the offence as well as any mitigating or aggravating
features relevant to the case. This is fundamental in dealing with offenders in a just and effective
manner. The offence of causing death by dangerous driving carries a maximum penalty of ten years
imprisonment. The maximum for the offence of dangerous driving is 2 years imprisonment. For this
offence the court must disqualify the offender from driving, up to a minimum of one year. the
offender must take an extended re-test before being able to drive again.

The maximum penalty for failing to stop after an accident is 6 months imprisonment or a fine of up
to £5,000 or both. Causing grievous bodily harm invites a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Disqualification is an oft-used penalty for road traffic offences. In some cases, there will be
outright disqualification from driving, known as obligatory disqualification. Example of these are
the serious offences of causing death by dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol, and
dangerous driving.

Mr. Baxter was convicted of Dangerous Driving and two counts of Grievous Bodily Harm. He was
sentenced to 15 months for the offence of Dangerous Driving and sentenced to 2 years for each
Grievous Bodily Harm conviction. He was also disqualified from driving for two years. The court
ordered that these sentences be served concurrently resulting in two years imprisonment. I do
not have the power to ensure that Mr. Baxter will never be permitted to drive again. However he
will be required to take an extended re-test before being able to drive again.

Although I cannot comment on the charges brought against or sentences imposed in individual
offenders, I can assure you that road fatalities are treated very seriously indeed by all the
agencies involved in the criminal justice system. Each case is thoroughly investigated by the police
and where there is sufficient evidence that the driver concerned was at fault the charges, which may
be brought, will depend on the evidence concerning his or her standard of driving. The Crown
Prosecution Service ultimately decides whether a case should proceed to court and on what charges.

All cases referred to the CPS are reviewed in accordance with the code for Crown Prosecutors. The
reviewing lawyer must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect
of conviction before proceeding with a charge. It must also be in the public interest to bring the
prosecution. Prosecutors must ensure that the charges selected reflect the criminality of the
offending behaviour. There are Charging Standards agreed with the police for prosecuting road
traffic offences. Senior and experienced lawyers who are assisted by expert police officers conduct
all road traffic cases that result in death.

There have been a number of initiatives to address road traffic offending, including the review
of road traffic penalties and the research report by the Department for transport into the law on
Dangerous Driving. The report on road traffic penalties was published on 24 July 2002. The report
recommends raising the maximum penalty for all causing death offences from ten years'
imprisonment to 14 years' imprisonment (this includes aggravated vehicle taking where a death
occurs). We also recommend that those convicted of dangerous driving should face a higher maximum
penalty of five years' imprisonment. Under our recommendations drivers convicted of
non-imprisonable offences such as careless driving and driving without insurance could face tough
community penalties rather than a fine.

Some of the recommendations to the proposals in the report do not require any further action. Other
recommendations require further work being undertaken where appropriate. This is of course subject
to availability of necessary resources and appropriate legislative opportunity.

The Department for Transport has embarked on research to examine the way that road traffic cases
involving serious injury and fatalities are dealt with by the criminal justice system. The study
looked at whether there is sufficiently clear guidance on the law and its purpose. As well as
helping to decide whether changes in the law or its administration are needed, this work will assist
in gaining an understanding of what is leading prosecutors and courts to select one offence rather
than another.

In the light of this research report, we shall consider whether changes in the law or its
administration are needed.

The Government acknowledges that the criminal justice system requires radical and wide-ranging
reform. In order to address this issue, we published the White Paper "_Justice for All_" in July
last year. It sets out a long-term strategy to modernise the whole criminal justice system. We
intend to put the _sense back into sentencing_ and have issued several proposals which include the
creation of a sentencing framework and to establish a Sentencing Guidelines Council, which is to be
chaired by the Lord Chief Justice in order to achieve greater consistency in sentencing.

The Criminal Justice Bill was published on 21 November to introduce the proposals in Justice for
All' to Parliament. The Bill presently contains provisions that will empower the courts to impose
indeterminate sentences on dangerous, violent offenders. The offences of Causing Death by Dangerous
Driving and Causing Death by Careless Driving while under the influence of drink or drugs are
included in this scheme. Accordingly, in extreme cases, those convicted of these offences could be
subject to custodial sentences in which they will only be released if the parole board finds that to
do so would not present a significant risk of harm to the public. These provisions will of course be
used very infrequently, for those committing offences in the gravest circumstances. The Bill is
available on the parliamentary website at http://www.parliament.co.uk .

Charles Falconer, Minister of State

--
Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( http://www.juggler.net/danny ) Recumbent cycle page:
http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/recumbents/ "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." -
Thomas Paine
 
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Tony Raven

Guest
Danny Colyer <[email protected]> wrote:
> My MP has just forwarded the reply that he received from the Home Office when he passed on my
> concerns about the leniency of Baxter's sentence. It goes on a bit without saying very much, but
> I'm sure at least a couple of people will be interested:
>

Better than mine who's response was:

"I was not aware of this case, but of course sentencing is a matter for the Courts, unless the
Attorney General seeks a review. Do you have a direct interest in this case?" (NB his incorrect
punctuation)

Rating 9/10 on the Chocolate Teapot scale

Tony

--
http://www.raven-family.com

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to
adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George
Bernard Shaw
 
D

Dave Kahn

Guest
"Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

> Danny refers to the recent case of Mr. Baxter...

Am I the only one who finds the familiar use by the Home Office of Danny's christian name and the
use of the title "Mr." for the thug slightly offensive?

Shouldn't it have been "Mr. Colyer refers to the recent case of Carl Baxter..."?

--
Dave...
 
S

Simon Mason

Guest
"Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> My MP has just forwarded the reply that he received from the Home Office when he passed on my
> concerns about the leniency of Baxter's sentence. It goes on a bit without saying very much, but
> I'm sure at least a couple of people will be interested:
>

Well at least you got a reply. Are there some council elections due soon ;-) ?

--
Simon Mason Anlaby East Yorkshire. 53°44'N 0°26'W http://www.simonmason.karoo.net
 
I

Ian Smith

Guest
On Thu, 17 Apr 2003 22:34:57 +0100, Tony Raven <[email protected]> wrote:
> Danny Colyer <[email protected]> wrote:
> > My MP has just forwarded the reply that he received from the Home Office when he passed on my
> > concerns about the leniency of Baxter's sentence. It goes on a bit without saying very much, but
> > I'm sure at least a couple of people will be interested:
> >
>
> Better than mine who's response was:
>
> "I was not aware of this case, but of course sentencing is a matter for the Courts, unless the
> Attorney General seeks a review. Do you have a direct interest in this case?" (NB his incorrect
> punctuation)
>
> Rating 9/10 on the Chocolate Teapot scale

But that in turn is better than teh response I've had to my MP - which is (roughly):

""

regards, Ian SMith
--
|\ /| no .sig
|o o|
|/ \|
 
J

Just Zis Guy

Guest
On Thu, 17 Apr 2003 20:45:05 +0100, "Danny Colyer" <[email protected]> wrote:

>My MP has just forwarded the reply that he received from the Home Office

My MP replied to me immediately, but there has been no follow-up. The last but one letter I wrote to
the DfT resulted in thems ending me a policy document published in 2000, which is flatly
contradicted by several subsequent policy initiatives (e.g. yellow cameras).

The last letter I wrote to the DfT was in respect of the new Think! campaign, which seeks to improve
the safety of two-wheeler riders by... giving the SMIDSYs another weapon in their armoury of
self-deluding excuses. I was (am) disgusted, though not of Tunbridge Wells.

Guy
===
** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
dynamic DNS permitting)
NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
work. Apologies.
 
A

Andy Welch

Guest
On 21-Apr-2003, "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote:

> My MP replied to me immediately, but there has been no follow-up.

I got an immediate response from my MP as well. Along the lines of "tha ks for your email. I'll look
into it". Pretty much a form letter and I assumed that was all I'd get. However, last week I got
another letter from him saying that he agreed with my concerns, he'd written to the attourney
general on my behalf and would let me know when he got a response. He also included a copy of the
letter that he had sent to the attourney general, which was pretty much a cut and paste of the email
that I'd sent him.

Must admit I was pretty impressed. May well vote for the guy next time.

Cheers,

Andy

ps. For the record my MP is Malcolm Bruce (Lib Dem)
 
J

Just Zis Guy

Guest
On Tue, 22 Apr 2003 08:09:38 GMT, [email protected] wrote:

>I got an immediate response from my MP as well. Along the lines of "tha ks for your email. I'll
>look into it". Pretty much a form letter and I assumed that was all I'd get.

My MP actually looked me up in the phone book and phoned me after I'd been on Radio 4 once - and
every time we correspond she seems to be thoughtful and interested. We had a bit of a disagreement
about Operation Oily Residue, but on matters cycling we are of one mind :)

Guy
===
** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
dynamic DNS permitting)
NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
work. Apologies.
 
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