Friday, 3 February 2012

Do we think we'll get away with it?


There's been a deal of mournful, celebratory and serious reporting on the resignation of Chris Huhne following him being charged with perverting the course of justice.

Chris Huhne has quit as energy secretary after learning he will be charged with perverting the course of justice over a 2003 speeding case. His ex-wife Vicky Pryce will face the same charge in relation to claims she accepted his penalty points.

The question I have in all this is; "why?" Why did Mr Huhne - a clever and successful man - allegedly decide that it made any sense at all to ask his wife to take the rap for some penalty points on a driving licence. And for that matter, why did Vicky Pryce, his wife - another clever and successful person - think that this was anything like a good idea?

It may of course turn out that nothing of the sort took place, it is all a confusion or a misunderstanding. But nevertheless I really would like to know what is so massively important about not having a driving ban for a few months compared to the possibility of a career-ending prison sentence for perverting the course of justice?

I can understand when a spur of the moment action gets someone into trouble. But the actions of Mr Huhne - if true - were considered not impulsive. It seems to me utterly barking mad to run this risk when nobody is going to get too hot under the collar over a driving ban for accumulated speeding points. In some circles it might even get some street cred.

It has to be that too many people - especially in positions of power - think they'll get away with it.




Woodsy42 said...

"it is all a confusion or a misunderstanding. "
What like Mr and Mrs accidently put each other's clothes on that morning?
Sadly our 'elite' seem to think they are invincible and can ignore all the laws that we have to abide by. Whether it's driving charges, accounting, taking undeclared incomes, fiddling expenses, house flipping, spurious business to save tax - you name it. And some are still at it now, even after all the scandals. Huhne's outing was before those scandals when half of parliament obviously thought they were able to be dishonest with impunity.

SadButMadLad said...

Why take the risk you ask. Well in his eyes there was no risk.

This sharing of speeding points must be happening amongst the ordinary public. Sometimes for love between couples, sometimes for money between friends. For the general public the risk is very low compared to the benefit of being able to carry on driving. The possiblity of losing their job would be a great driving force.

For Chris Huhne, the risk is low but the benefit isn't that great either as he would have access to taxis on expenses and government cars. However he would still be thinking that it would be a very low risk of being caught and still worth doing. The attitude of many westminster politicians where they were actively encouraged to cheat their expenses by Michael Martin would also have meant that cheating the system is a victimless crime.

Anonymous said...

The question I have in all this is; "why?" Why did Mr Huhne - a clever and successful man - allegedly decide that it made any sense at all to ask his wife to take the rap for some penalty points on a driving licence.

Only he, and/or his ex (hell hath no fury….) wife, know the truth.

This comment is in no way in defence of Huhne, but an observation on a poorly drafted piece of legislation.

Perhaps the real issue here is that this situation has been made possible by a law that can convict without any evidence. My understanding is that the registered keeper of the vehicle will be fined, and receive penalty points, even if the camera is unable to identify the driver. The onus is on the registered keeper to provide the details of the driver. It is the responsibility of the keeper to know who was driving. So a confession is required, by someone, anyone, in order that £60 finds its way into government coffers.

If this principle was applied to other areas of law there would be hell to pay.

Let’s say you own a house in which a murder has been committed. As the owner of the house you would be charged with murder unless you provide the identity of the murderer. It is your house, you must know who was in it at the time of the murder and therefore did the deadly deed. If you don’t, it’s you.

The law nominates a name and presumes guilt. The name nominates another name to shift the guilt. Neither has to provide any evidence to substantiate the nomination. The first is justice and the second is perverting the course of justice?