We never got any justice for my brother
Monday 11 July saw the launch of Brake’s Roads To Justice campaign outside the Houses of Parliament which brought together many families who have lost a loved one to a criminal driver but never got the justice they deserved. In this blog; Vivienne Craske writes about the lack of justice for her brother Stephen, who was killed in a head on collision six years ago.
My beloved brother was killed six years ago by a driver who having gone onto the nearside verge then crossed completely over onto the opposite side of the road and crashed into my brother. The driver was uninjured.
The CPS charged the driver with causing death by careless driving. The prosecuting barrister argued in court that the defendant had over steered after going onto the verge and ended upon the wrong side of the road.
He stated: “The reality of this is that, for a very short period of time, you took your eyes off the road and then over steered as you attempted to correct this error, and collided with the car on the opposite side of the road."
When we challenged the charge of ‘causing death by careless driving’ we were told that although it was technically dangerous driving the CPS were going with a lesser charge because they weren’t sure of a conviction on the higher charge of causing death by dangerous driving, irrespective of whether it was the right thing to do.
Following adjournments that continued for over a year the defendant pleaded not guilty by insanity, The CPS told us that they did not accept the defence’s case as it was based on a hypothetical suggestion that they would argue as irrelevant. Despite this the CPS didn’t fund any medical ‘experts’ to challenge the defence’s case hence the jury heard only from the defence ‘expert’ witnesses.
The defendant was found not guilty by insanity and given an absolute discharge. There were no driving restrictions imposed and the judge stated that it was up to the defendant to inform the DVLA despite the suggestion by the defence that it was a medical episode that had caused the crash.
Afterwards, I contacted experts and advisors in the medical, legal and academic fields about my brother’s case and the responses I received showed that we had not received justice.
Lawyers agreed that our case was handled disastrously and that we have strong evidence that the outcome was wrong. The medical experts we contacted about the insanity defence also said that by the prosecution not calling their own experts, the jury were likely to favour the experts from the defence.
We have continued to campaign to be heard and our questions to be answered. I know that nothing will bring back my brother but it is all to do with what is right.
I am a realist and knew from the police liaison from the beginning that if the defendant was found guilty his sentence would never have equated to much, but at least justice would have been served.
Unless we are heard, victims and their families will continue to be at the mercy of a system that merely compounds their grief. The words “time will heal” that are meant to give some comfort I presume are just empty words.
There are no words to describe our continued pain of how he was killed but that pain is compounded by the fact that no one will help us despite their good wishes.
Can you help support families like Vivienne's who have been devastated by the loss of a loved one and have yet to see justice for their death? Please sign our petition calling for stronger sentencing for criminal drivers who kill and severely injure innocent people.
You can also sign Vivienne's petition calling for greater victim involvement in CPS decision making HERE.
I think "Careless" and "Dangerous Driving" should not be separate. They should be made into one offence with a penalty of manslaughter carrying a minimum of 20 years, plus there should be no mitigation allowed.