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Cheers - AE

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Slap on the wrist.

I realise that any conceivable fine for a charge of Driving Without Due Care and Attention is hardly going to hit someone like Harritwit Harmong where it hurts, and it would be hard to justify why she should be hit harder just because of who she is and the loathsome government we associate her with. But £350? Seem a bit low to anyone else? I was under the impression they could go up to £5 grand, and while that would seem pretty steep for a collision that didn't actually hurt anyone I'd have thought they'd impose a fine that makes the point that someone who is a lawyer and has been at various times Solicitor-General, Leader of the House of Commons and Cabinet Minister should perhaps be leading by example. I'd also have thought that a court would take into consideration the accused's relevant history - if someone's just been found guilty of robbing a post office it's relevant to consider if this is the first time or if he's been doing it for twenty years. So shouldn't the court hearing Harmong's case have mentioned that the £400 she was fined and the one week ban she got for doing 99mph on a motorway back in 2003 apparently didn't sink in? Or perhaps mention that the £60 Fixed Penalty she got for speeding in 2007 was paid several months late because she was busy with the Labour Deputy Leadership contest and forgot to pay. Want to bet that anyone else offering a pathetic excuse of being busy with career matters would get away with it? Any takers? No? Funny that.

As I said, being who she is certainly shouldn't attract a higher fine or more points, though her history with motoring offences might. I'd go even further and say that since no-one was hurt by her offences in 2003 and 2007 - speeding being in itself a victimless crime - she shouldn't have been fined for those anyway. But of course anyone else sure as hell would have been, and the flip side of that is that being who she is shouldn't earn her even just a slightly easier ride. Now all this is just speculating and possibly the court did think about those previous cases and did the legal equivalent of saying 'Meh, 350 quid sounds about right.' The papers have examples of apparently lenient sentences handed down week in, week out. The charge of using the phone was apparently dropped and little discussion seems to have been made as to whether yelling "I'm Harriet Harman, you know where to find me" constitutes stopping after an accident and exchanging details. There could be sound reasons for all of that, couldn't there? But the bottom line is that in her shoes I'd be pretty fucking pleased with getting away with only 3 points and £350, wouldn't you?
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