back to article Texting peer gets prison

Lord Ahmed, charged with dangerous driving after sending text messages shortly before hitting a car on the M1, has been jailed for 12 weeks. Ahmed was driving his Jaguar on Christmas Day 2007 when he hit a stationary car in the fast lane, killing the 28-year-old driver. Three minutes before he used his mobile to call emergency …

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Ahhhhhh

It couldn't have happened to a nicer ferret faced piece of scum. IMHO he should have got 12 months in pokey - any normal citizen would have.

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Black Helicopters

Fair justice?

Why did the lorry death driver get 3 years and a peer only 12 weeks?

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Seems resonable

12 weeks for killing someone. And who says the law isn't fair?

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Black Helicopters

12 Weeks?

For a maximum sentence of 14 years, how such a low sentence for causing death by dangerous driving?

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Flame

12 weeks, short ban and a small fine?

Is that all? For killing someone in a way that verges on manslaughter? No wonder driving standards are so low in this country. He should have faced 5 years minimum, a life ban and had his peerage stripped. As for fine, none needed with a sentence like that.

Drivers need to be made to understand that their vehicle is a deadly weapon. They only way to do that is to hammer transgressors *hard*. I see about 5 drivers using their mobile every morning on my short commute. The police don't care.

This killer will be back in the Lords in a few weeks, head in tax-money trough, having us pay for his new chauffeur and not giving two shits about what he's done. He'll probably get to vote on bills about road safety! Just you watch.

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The difference between "Them" and "Us"

Enough said!

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Ash
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12 weeks?

I was on a jury where a couple of lads were found guilty of GBH with intent. They got 28 months.

How, in the name of all that is fair and just, does somebody get 12 WEEKS, 6 points, and a *£500* fine for causing DEATH by dangerous driving?

Oh yeah, he's a Peer.

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Stop

As a pedestrian...

I'd love to see a law that replaced air-bags with huge bloody spikes. Then at least the roads would be emptier of one idiotic driver after every crash.

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Alert

Shame! Ha ha!

While to my knowledge he didn't kill anyone, the accident had already happened when he hit the car, he is still a piece of vile scum, simply for using a phone while driving! I cannot tell you the hatred I feel for pieces of putrid rectum that put other's lives at risk because chatting to their mates is far more important than my safety! I have been narrowly missed at least 3 times in the last 2 years by these selfish f**kups!

The quicker captial punishment is introduced for "phone-driving" the better!

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Whilst I agree that...

There often seems to be one rule for us and another for them... And, possibly, that this peer is a "ferret faced piece of scum" - I don't know.

However - in this case - the judge said that the "texting had nothing to do with the accident itself" - and, I presume that the statement "there was red car facing the wrong way in lane three" was provably true. So, it is possible, that the phone usage (inexcusable though it is) had little or nothing to do with the incident - whilst the "red car" could have been a surprise to any one of us depending on other circumstances (such as distractions finding CDs, changing station, day dreaming, pretty girl in car on the left).

I'm not saying he shouldn't have been clobbered harder (possibly).

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Paris Hilton

Hold on

It says texting was not connected to the accident. Why was there a car facing the wrong way in the fast lane of a motorway. A horrendous event for everyone concerned. If I hit a car which has gone spinning out of control on the motorway moments after receiving a text message even if the phone was in the glove box but after the event I pick up the phone to dial 999 should I expect to go to prison? Yes I know it says he was sending one but where do they draw the line?

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@Trevor.. Why 12 weeks

The guy he hit was pissed up, parked in the fast lane and facing the wrong way (after crashing himself).

It doesn't excuse it and it still seems a bit light to me but it was a bit of a 6 of 1 situation...

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Flame

Did anyone else read this article

Did any of the above commentards read the article.? He was not found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. It was just dangerous driving. There was no evidence linking the crash and the texting. Just read it FFS.

I have no sympathy with the retard and would have thrown the book at him anyway. As far as I'm concerned, the only difference between someone texting at 60mph who then kills someone and another person who was texting at 60mph and didn't kill someone is pure luck and law shouldn't differentiate between the lucky and unlucky.

But he was convicted of Dangerous Driving, in which case 12 weeks, a 12 month ban and (relatively) big fine is quite a heavy sentence.

As I say, I don't agree with it, but please read the fecking article before starting your down trodden masses speeches. You sound like a Monty Python parody!

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@ everyone

Doesn't anyone read the story or do their background research before posting?

From the BBC: "Lord Ahmed's Jaguar hit an Audi car that had crashed into the central reservation and was lying stationary across the middle and outside lanes."

In other words, there was a fair chance that whether he was texting, phoning, adjusting the CD player or even just driving normally but not with the sharpest of reactions, he may have hit the stationary car in the 'fast' lane of a motorway.

I'm not disputing "one law for the rich... blah, blah," nor trying to explain away that this was a terrible accident, but there is a bit of a difference between someone ploughing their 40 tonne lorry into family driving along minding their own business because the driver fell asleep after 18 hours driving without a break, and not having fast enough reactions (phone induced or otherwise) to avoid an accident that had already taken place.

At least I assume that this is what was taken into consideration. That's the funny thing about UK law, it's really keen on facts and likely probablity. Not guesswork and conjecture.

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@ Ian C

That's just about the most stupid thing I've heard in ages. Suppose I'm driving my car and through no fault of my own, I'm hit by a drunk driver or some idiot speeding? Should I be impaled to death by those huge bloody spikes too because of someone else's mistake?

Try thinking that not every driver involved in an accident is to blame for Christ's sake!

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Paris Hilton

Another thing

Not that I'm in any way defending this man but he pleaded guilty and the lorry driver pleaded innocent. This could have something to do with it. Is everyone a Daily Mail reader on here now? Where's the reasoned debate?

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Anonymous Coward

@Ian C

Based on your comment, I have a good idea about what the 'C' stands for...

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Gaz

What's a peer?

US guy here. Most of the time I follow, but this one escapes me. I'm with you though, 12 weeks, c'mon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 12 Weeks

***"How, in the name of all that is fair and just, does somebody get 12 WEEKS, 6 points, and a *£500* fine for causing DEATH by dangerous driving?"***

He was only convicted of "dangerous driving", not "Death by dangerous driving". The beak, Mr Justice Wilkie, said "After a full and thorough police investigation it's clear the dangerous driving had no causal link to the accident."

Which, if there really was only 3 mins between the last txt and the 999 call, is bloody hard to believe. Having recently been in a smash, 3 mins is, IMHO, pretty close to the minimum time it takes to get over the immediate shock of the accident and gather enough wits to make a call.

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As if...

... 12 weeks wasn't short enough, he'll be out in 6 due to the standard half time good behaviour rules... Unless of course he's a naughty boy in clink.

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just watch the news

I am quite sure we will see the outrage in tomorrow's Daily Telegraph etc. Well, at least I have hope we will.

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Coat

@Trevor et al the hang'em flog 'em

"For a maximum sentence of 14 years, how such a low sentence for causing death by dangerous driving?"

He wasn;t convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. His texting (which was dangerous driving and which is why he was jailed) was not related to the death of the driver who was killed.

He had no chance of avoiding collision with the stationary car in the fast lane.

That said, I am not defending texting while driving - it is wrong and contemptible, but he did not cause death by dangerous driving - he drove dangerously for which he has been jailed and was subsequently involved in an accident.

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Flame

Actually...

at the risk of inducing a torrent of abuse, I suspect that the light sentence had more to do with a lack of speed on odious lords part rather than because he's a lord, although I imagine it helps...

<flameproof suit on>

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Anonymous Coward

@Ian C

yeah, great idea, because an airbag has never saved someone who didnt deserve to die

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Why only 12 weeks?

Wouldn't have anything to do with his self proclaimed ability to organise a protest by 10,000 supporters, would it?

One law for the "Righteous" and another for the rest of us!

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry, but isnt this

just another example of sucking up to the minorities, why did that woman who killed a few while texting get so much more of a sentence last month?, she was at least not in the outside lane whilst texting and driving. If using a mobile was to carry £500 / 6 months jail and 6 points minimum, then they'd think about it more, the points dont matter as most who do it have no licence anyway, so points make no odds...hit them with fines and a sentence else they'll keep doing it.

I have a great idea...instead of contract killings using a gun, use a car and the most you get is a fine...make the Jackal look like an amateur, and walk away quids in

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Anonymous Coward

The portugese lorry driver should sue for discrimination

I guess some are more equal than the others... That is what peer means, right?

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Stationary

Regardless of the mobile phone usage, a stationary car in the fast lane while travelling at 60mph is a scary thought and difficult to avoid in certain circumstances. Surely the front passenger would have been able to alert the driver.

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"There was nothing he could do"

If I saw a car in the same lane as me, facing in my direction there would be something I'd be doing... slowing down and getting out of the way! For the judge to say that the text messages didn't contribute to the fatal crash is farcical. He obviously wasn't paying attention to what was on the road. For him to say "there was nothing I could do" is an insult to the chap he killed.

Remember that comment made about offenders being forcibly raped in prison (yep it was a dumb comment). I for one wouldn't give two fucks if Ahmed got gang-banged every day for the rest of this pathetically small sentence.

I agree with the other comments. When he gets out he won't have 'changed'. He'll still be a pompous shit head. Look at the way he threatened to mobilise 10,000 folks onto the streets of London in protest at Geert Wilders being invited to the House of Lords. He's a pompous, bullying, taxpayer-funded little shit.

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Alert

From one AC to another

"Is that all? For killing someone in a way that verges on manslaughter?"

Really? Do you honestly think that? An accident caused by a car being stationary in the outside lane of a motorway and you think this is the fault of the driver that hit it because sometime in the preceding 3 miles he sent a text?

Yes using a mobile while driving is dangerous, hence the custodial sentence but as the trial judge recognized this was not the cause of the accident. It's hardly like had he not used his phone before the incident occurred he suddenly would have been gifted the driving ability of a young Ayrton Senna and deftly swerved around the car inconveniencing no-one (apart perhaps from the driver behind who then would have had the accident...)

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Dead Vulture

DD, not D by DD

As I read it, he was convicted of dangerous driving but _not_ of causing death by dangerous driving (as all the other recent cases have been). Hence the short jail term in comparison.

Though I fail to see any significant differences between recent cases. All dangerous driving, shortly followed by an avoidable accident. Cause and effect presumed, and a jail sentence measured in years follows for most.

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@ 12 Weeks?

"For a maximum sentence of 14 years, how such a low sentence for causing death by dangerous driving?"

The man who died had been drinking, crashed his car late at night on an unlit motorway, and left it lying across two lanes without lights. And had he not returned to it to retrieve his mobile phone, he wouldn't have died. Another driver clipped the crashed car's mirror, and a third hit the central reservation while avoiding the crashed car.

Ahmed wasn't responsible for the death, and convicted only for the unrelated dangerous driving.

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Devils advocate/bitch

Apparently he was traveling @ 60+ mph and was texting for 17minutes. According to BBC News 24 His last text was sent when he was three miles from the accident...

According to the BBC Website:

"The court had heard how Lord Ahmed sent and received a series of five text messages while driving in the dark at speeds of, and above, 60mph along a 17-mile stretch of the motorway.

Mr Justice Wilkie made clear the texting incident had no bearing on the fatal collision.

He said: "After a full and thorough police investigation it's clear the dangerous driving had no causal link to the accident."

So it appears Mr Ahmed was NOT the cause of the accident, therefore his irresponsible texting did not cause the accident.

Mr Ahmed admitted in court to dangerous driving. So he is guilty of dangerous driving by his own admission. Now did he hit a car that had stopped as a result of an accident and kill the occupant whilst driving dangerously, or had the dangerous driving stopped before this impact? If not then is this not causing death by dangerous driving, and is not 12 weeks just a bit lenient? Any witnesses, what do they say?

Only with full and complete disclosure of the alleged crime and those events surrounding that crime can proper judgment ever be made.

For those who expect justice to be served, there is no justice in the UK only law.

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Paris Hilton

But officer...

my wife was the one texting while I drove.

Only a Peer couldn't have thought his way out of that one

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@ As a pedestrian...

Little extreme, don't you think? I was hit head on last year by a young girl who came over the center line. It was snowy and she lost control. The collision set off MY airbag (or in your world, a "huge bloody spike"), and I hadn't done anything wrong.

I agree this story is sad, and punishment laughable. He should spend about 2-3 years in the pokey and never have a license again.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @Ian C

Everybody ignore Ian with his spike suggestion because it is silly.

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Not wanting to defend a peer but...

...there are some important details here. For starters, he was convicted of dangerous driving, not death by dangerous driving. In other words, he was given the prison sentence for texting while driving. The judge said "It's clear the dangerous driving had no causal link to the accident." He wasn't given any punishment for causing the death of the other driver (who, incidentally, was drunk).

Another detail from the BBC: "One motorist had already clipped his car and another had to take evasive action to avoid it."

Re "Why did the lorry death driver get 3 years and a peer only 12 weeks?" Because the lorry driver ought to have been able to see the queue from over a mile away. It's clear in this case that the stationary vehicle was difficult to see on the *unlit* section of motorway.

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MnM
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some detail

Check the Telegraph online: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/4804702/Labour-peer-Lord-Ahmed-jailed-for-motorway-texting.html

Essentially: Court told Audi driver had been drinking and had crashed his car into the central reservation in total darkness. Another car had clipped its wing mirror and a further vehicle had collided with the central reservation after taking avoiding action. The Audi was facing the wrong way, straddling the two outermost lanes, when Ahmed crashed into it. Audi driver thought to have returned to car to collect mobile when Ahmed crashed. Ahmed's text messaging session ended two minutes before the collision.

I think the road laws are wrong headed, as are the comments so far on this story. In general, whatever the road or speed, if you can clearly see there's nothing ahead or to the side of you within your braking distance, then you have brief moments of time which are enough to text/set tomtom/turn around to talk to passengers/flick radio stations and so on. There is no benefit from unstintingly scanning the open road when you can see there's nothing on it, but doing anything else has become a taboo. As always this leads to worse behaviour: when holding a mobile to your ear was deemed unsafe, before it was even illegal, every safety conscious person went out and bought a bluetooth headset. Blocking out half your hearing by wearing a bluetooth headset, imo, does a far better job of interfering with your faculties than holding a phone to your ear. I find them unusable.

I regularly text and speak on the phone while I drive, and have the naus to do it only when it's safe. I am coordinated and can manage this perfectly well. I have 12 years no claims and have acquired a total of 3 points in 14 years of driving - I'm a good driver. Having said that, I have had a couple (i.e. twice in a decade) of low-speed near misses while texting. I would love to try out the driving simulators used to show texting to be dangerous and see how I fare, and wonder if I'd have the option to decide not to text as I go through a blind corner.

Blanket banning specific activities whilst driving is weak, negative law. It's made on the basis that if some of society can't be trusted to do something, then it's banned for us all. People don't respect laws like that. Keep the existing careless and dangerous driving charges, which are more principles-based, allow them to be aggravated (by texting etc.) but don't ban the activities themselves. Arrived at a red light? Why not send a text?

In the Ahmed case, he could equally have been preparing another text, eyes down, when he crashed (ban texts), or, having finished his text session (during which he was also concentrating on the road), relaxed into the drive too much (ban texts?). Or the Audi could have been just over a hill and an accident waiting to happen come what may (ban driving?). If Ahmed hadn't texted at all during his journey, would the outcome be any different?

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Re Gaz

Peers are the people in the house of lords, think stately homes, titles, and fox hunting and you are pretty much there.

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Driving safely?

Whether he caused the accident or not - he still killed someone.

If his headlights didn't light-up his stopping-distance then he was driving too fast.

To drive safely on British roads means you *must be able to stop within the distance you can see*

Simple really.

If *YOU* couldn't have slowed-down and avoided/stopped then you too would have been driving too fast and guilty of manslaughter imo.

Please, please would you all go get some advanced driving lessons. Please.

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Paris Hilton

Dangerous Driving

If you can't see to the end of your stopping distance, you're going too fast. End of. Excess speed is never excusable (note "excess"). 12 weeks is a joke. Dangerous driving should carry minimum served of 6 months. As someone else said, a ban is a waste of time.

Paris 'cos the worst case of speeding I ever endured was in a taxi there.

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Coat

@Sarah Bee

I totally agree. I wonder how it got through the moderation process here?...........

Off now to climb into a flame and vitriol proof hole and pull it in after me.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @Sarah Bee

I believe it snuck in under cover of the other 900 odd comments I've moderated today.

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@Ian C

'I'd love to see a law that replaced air-bags with huge bloody spikes'

Not the Bulgarian ones surely? That would just be weird (and possibly illegal under the new extreme porn laws)

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Jobs Horns

@ Sarah Bee

Ignore him? Come on....we need flame fodder!!!

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Coat

Fast lane?

Is now a good point to remind people it's officially known as the *overtaking* lane?

Mine's the one with the (1986) copy of the Highway Code in it...

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Anonymous Coward

Peer ?

Pedant's corner. Doesn't "Peer" mean if you face trial, it has to be by a jury of your peers? i.e. tried other Lords and not have a plebian Judge and jury like the rest of us.

Or am I missing something here and that ancient rule went away when they privatised the Lords?

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Anonymous Coward

Lying peers

Matt wrote "my wife was the one texting while I drove. Only a Peer couldn't have thought his way out of that one".

That's exactly what Ahmed said initially and it was a lie. He should be prosecuted now for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh boy...

It's about time someone did something about these chavs! Always think they can get away with anything! Jail is the only language they'll understand!

Wait, what?

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