If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Tovarishch Harman - update

More detail about la Harman's conviction in The Times today. Further to my post of yesterday, it seems that the charges for using a mobile phone were not dropped, but were subsumed into the main charge of Driving Without Due Care:

Explaining why Ms Harman was not prosecuted for driving while using a hand-held telephone, Michael Jennings, reviewing lawyer from the Crown Prosecution Service’s special crime division, said: “Ms Harman’s guilty plea to driving without due care and attention included her admitting that she had been using a mobile phone at the time. In accepting Ms Harman’s guilty plea, the CPS was satisfied that the court would have enough sentencing power to impose a penalty which could reflect her total offending.”

Of course, she pleaded guilty, so that makes it all right. ("I have paid back the excess amount in full, so it is right that we should draw a line under this and move on to the things the British people are really interested in ...")

As for leaving the scene of an accident and/or failing to report, well ...

It emerged that prosecutors had considered charging Ms Harman with failing to report the accident, which carries a sentence of six months in prison, discretionary disqualification, up to ten points and a maximum fine of £5,000, but there was insufficient evidence.

(My emphasis.)

Insufficient evidence? Did she leave the scene without exchanging details, or didn't she? Did she report it to the police afterwards or didn't she? It's hardly a shades-of-grey judgement call for the prosecutors. As with all the events of 2009, it seems that there is one rule for them and one for us.

Nigel Evans speaks for us all:

“I suspect there will be a few fuming motorists looking at that judgment and wondering how she got off so lightly.”



  1. Interesting - I'd love to see a comparative analysis of similar uncontested convictions. You can bet that if she was on a motorbike she would have been hammered.

  2. You may be right, but I think a more pointed comparison would be with a middle-aged, employed, conviction-free, non-celebrity man, especially if said man had argued the toss with the arresting officer (for there would have been an arrest, not just a polite visit to one's Commons Offices). DWDCA, check, leaving the scene, check, failure to report, check, using mobile while in charge of a vehicle, check. Thousand pound fine and a six-month ban. Prison if he was found to have indecent images on his computer when they examined it looking for 'evidence' to support the prosecution. Bah.


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