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back to article Texting peer released from prison

The Court of Appeal has released a Labour peer who was jailed for 12 weeks for sending and receiving text messages while driving minutes before he was involved in a fatal motorway crash. Lord Ahmed, 51, was charged with dangerous driving after using his mobile phone shortly before hitting a stationary car in the fast lane of the …

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"exceptional circumstances"

He's a politician.

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Joke

Exceptional Circumstances?

No further questions MY LORD

One rule for us one rule for them

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Paris Hilton

Texting and driving

At least he had the decency to plead guilty. Unlike most of our politicians a sense of context if not culpability seems to have beckoned.

Beyond any reasonable doubt, it is difficult to demonstrate that a text conversation had an impact on his concentration leading him to kill someone. Not knowing the content and context of the messages can not help.

Surely though, any reasonable person might conclude that traveling at those speeds, engaging in a text conversation ( audio seems bad enough) would impair the judgement of any driver. And lead them to kill someone.

Politicians just seem to get away with murder these days.

Paris - because she is just as thick.

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Equality before the law...

My arseum

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Who cares?

I am reading/Waching/talking about how Jade is painfully dying from cancer, like the rest of the country.

/sarcasm off

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One law for them...

... meanwhile the motorcyclist who (supposedly*) did 122 mph *without* killing anyone, has got 6 months in jail, but, of course, he doesn't have a high-priced Barrister to argue his "exceptional" case...

*That 122mph figure is highly dubious and he'd have had to dump a *lot* of speed to be able to take the next corner without cranking the bike over a hell of a lot more than he did.

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Crock of shit

Sorry, someone is dead because he can't drive properly. He should not be walking the streets.

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Anonymous Coward

one law for them

why am I not the slightest bit suprised

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One rule for them

And one rule for us.

We so need to get a better system in place.

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Unhappy

Lord Ahmed

Surely "death by dangerous driving" warrants a more harsh sentence? This is the man who threatened to fill the streets with 10,000 angry muslims if Wilders was let into the country, so I have little sympathy for him.

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Boffin

One rule..

... for them, one rule for us.

Brillant.

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More americanisation

Won't be long before people who are famous for leaked videos of themselves having sex are freed after seven hours for drunk driving.

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Gates Horns

Re: "exceptional circumstances"

You meant: "Sleazy Labour Politician", right?

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4 weeks for Manslaughter

I hope the toerag* (Very censored language on my part*) has nighmares for the rest of his life.

Probably not. Consciences are for the proles

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@Bunglebear

He wasn't found guilty of "death by dangerous driving", he was found guilty of "dangerour driving", which was why the sentance was lower.

Rightly or wrongly, it was deemed that the texting had nothing to do with the death.

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@Tony Barnes

Someone is dead because they got pissed, went for a drive on the motorway, crashed in the central reservation on a dark and unlit stretch of road, and after several people had narrowly avoided colliding with him, the laws of statistics ensured that he would ultimately be culpable for his OWN actions.

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To all the knee-jerkers

I too was outraged by this until I took the time to dig a bit further.

Texting while driving is admittedly outrageously stupid, but he stopped a few minutes before the crash; the judge admits that it was unrelated to the actual crash.

The car he crashed into had ALREADY crashed into the central reservation and spun round to face the traffic, in the third (central) lane of the motorway.

The judge stated that there was nothing the peer could have done to avoid the crash.

There was never any question in the court of 'death by dangerous driving'.

Of course, it didn't hurt that he had the services of a QC to argue these points. But I don't think it's particularly fair to demand murder charges for what was blatantly an unavoidable accident; it's really the media that have jumped on Rich Peer + Texting + Other Guy Died = Blame.

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Small correction

Assuming the BBC to be factual (I know, I know):

"Before the collision with Lord Ahmed, Mr Gombar, who was Slovakian, had crashed into the central reservation, leaving his Audi facing the wrong way in the third lane of the motorway.

Lady Justice Hallett said there was "little or nothing" Lord Ahmed could have done to avoid the collision.

She said he had never been accused of, or admitted, causing death by dangerous driving. "

So it appears it's accepted that the crash and the text messaging were far enough apart not to be related, so he would have hit the poor guy either way.

On the other hand, as other people have said, why does he get away with 'special circumstances' coming into play?

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@bunglebear

Perhaps you should read the article again - he wasn't charged with causing death by dangerous driving. The dangerous driving was to do with taking text messages two minutes before the crash and, as the judge pointed out, has nothing to do with the accident itself.

The accident happened when the guy who was killed collided with the central reservation and stopped in the outside lane facing the wrong way. His car was clipped by another before the Lord Ahmed's car hit it with fatal consequences. From what I can gather, the charge had nothing to do with the death - it was purely about the prior texting 2 minutes before the incident, and the judge stated there had been little he could have done to have avoided the collision. There were no charges related to the actual death.

To be fair to him, he admitted the charge and didn't claim that his wife (who was in the car) had been making and taking the messages.

So for all you types who have texted whilst on the move, the fact that you haven't yet been involved in a fatal accident makes you no less guilty, and tabloid headlines which gave the impression that this was the cause of the fatal accident are probably deliberately designed to do exactly that.

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Can nobody read? Or think?

Read the article again - the guy did NOT get convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. Read that AGAIN if you are hard of thinking.

He was convicted of texting while driving, which the judge agreed had taken place and ended 2 minutes before the crash, which incidentally occurred when a drunk driver had spun his car sideways into the crash barrier in lane 3 of the motorway in the dark, with the lights not visible on an unlit stretch, and then having got out of the car and got to safety, he staggered back across 3 lanes of motorway in the dark to the car to look for his wallet/phone when the aforementioned lord who had not used his phone for the last 2 miles, hit the car almost as it appeared out of the dark. He had no time to avoid it.

It is an unfortunate accident that could have happened to anyone. No matter how clear the night or alert the driver, a dark car sideways with no lights on an unlit stretch of motorway would be almost impossible to see until it was too late.

The texting while driving however, was wrong and dangerous, but how many other people have been jailed for texting while driving? Most get 3 points and a fine. I'm not condoning texting or phoning while driving, quite the reverse, but he was not convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.

It seems enough people have repeated the misunderstanding for everyone to somehow have believed it actually happened and jump on the bandwagon calling for his scalp. Thank god we have the law (what's left of it) and don't rely on the rule of the sheep like mob baying for blood.

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@Bunglebear

Causing death by dangerous driving does indeed warrant a harsher sentence, but that's not what he was charged or convicted for. The guy who died was drunk, had spun his car and crashed into the central reservation and was standing in the middle of the road, at night. At least one other car had already hit him before the peer drove into the wreck.

What the peer was prosecuted for was texting *earlier*, ie. a straightforward case of driving without due care and attention. The fact that he was later involved in a fatal accident was irrelevant to that case. He wasn't found to blame for that crash in any way.

The question therefore is whether 12 weeks in jail for a simple offence of driving without due care and attention, which didn't itself result in an accident, is excessive or not. The exceptional circumstances were presumably the fact that as a high profile case in which someone did die the police investigation was exceptionally meticulous and detailed and took over a year to come to court, which would no doubt have been a very uncertain and stressful time for the peer as he didn't know how serious a charge he might face.

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Unhappy

Are we surprised?

Wow he didn't have to wait long before his mates rescued him from prison.

If he hit a stationary object on the motorway then he was simply driving too fast. It's as simple as that.

One rule for them, one rule for the rest of us.

There just isn't a wall long enough to line up all these bankers, lords and politicians.

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Do you really...

.. want to live in a country where you can go to jail for sending a text message? The judge said the texting was some time before the crash, and unrelated. So unless that's a lie, this is just someone sending a text message whilst driving. Generally dangerous, yes, but prison is quite absurd. People get less for burglary.

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Pat
Black Helicopters

the IT angle - such convenient precision!

Quote = "...Ahmed’s text messaging had finished two minutes before the accident took place..."

I suppose the judge could be simply taking Ahmed's word that such was the case but I'd like to think that for such an important legal decision there was some precise way of establishing that two minute gap, some technical method of accurately measuring the time between when a text was sent and some other indicator/activity from the mobile.

In fact, I'm sure there was but we probably can't know about it for security reasons!

And it certainly wasn't "Yes, yes, I sent him a text just now, let me try to get the text up on the screen and I'll read it to yaaahh!!!", or a 999 call made one second after the impact. No sirree, Bob.

(Have to admire the BBC 'investigative' reporting, i.e. bland regurgitation, 'cause it's all for the good of the 'community'.)

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Anonymous Coward

The other guy...

Do remember that the guy he killed had apparently crashed his vehicle into the central reservation because he was trying to "retrieve" his own phone.

I think it's best to assume that ALL drivers are on the phone until proven otherwise, and behave accordingly.

(Around here, it seems to be about one driver in 30 at any moment in time.)

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Anonymous Coward

stitch-up

This is a fucking st**ch up. How can the general public have faith in the judicial system when they give so much f**ng favouritism to a politician!

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Anonymous Coward

@AC, issue of texting

AC, we know the accident wasn't caused by texting, but the fact remains that he killed someone by dangerous driving! He got handed a prison sentence, which many thought was too short, now on appeal, he's got thing..the sentence has been reduced in duration and it's been suspended which means he won't spend any time in prison at all!

FFS! It's not about whether he was texting or not, it's about his causing death by dangerous driving and getting let off!

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Anonymous Coward

Roadcraft

There is a book used for driver training called Roadcraft. I have it, I have used it.

It is the same book that is used to teach Police officers how to drive.

It says, you should be travelling at a speed which you can see to stop in.

This is a fundamental concept of driving. If you're driving along then you should be travelling at a speed such that if something out of the blue happens, you have enough time to brake, to bring the car to a stop without hitting the object.

What does this mean in practise? If you're going round a bend, and you can't see around it, you slow down, such that if there's a stationary car around the bend, when you suddenly see it, you hit the brakes, and you're not going so fast you hit it.

The tighter the bend, if it's a really blind bend on a narrow country lane, then you may slow the car right down to 20mph to negotiate the bend!

Same applies on a straight road, you travel at a speed which is suitable for the road and visibility conditions.

The accident wasn't an accident, it was Ahmads fault!

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Highway Code??

I was under the impression that a driver should only be travelling as fast as is safe to go. IE he should have seen the obstruction and been able to pull up without striking it.

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The judge stated that...

..."there was nothing the peer could have done to avoid the crash."

Well I state BULLSHIT!

If he was unable to stop in the distance in which he could see ahead of him, then he was travelling *TOO FAST*!

He could have avoided the crash by going *slower* such that the distance illuminated by his headlamps was *longer* than his stopping distance.

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@Nathan, RotaCyclic

So, by your reckoning, no accident has ever been caused by anything but negligence, since all accidents could be avoided if you were traveling at 0mph. That's a really well-reasoned viewpoint. I guess we should all be driving slowly enough that if a deer enters the road 10 feet from the front of our car, in the middle of the night, we can stop for it - right? No such thing as an accident, after all. I don't know what the speed limits are in the UK, but in the US, there are plenty of 65mph zones where a sideways, unlit car in the dead of a dark night would be nigh-on invisible. Unless you favor mandating 40mph as the maximum possible speed limit, you're hypocrites.

Go back to yelling "Get off my lawn!" at kids. It'll be a better use of your time than parading your misplaced arrogance here.

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Re: To all the knee-jerkers

>The judge stated that there was nothing the peer could have done to avoid the crash.

Complete twaddle. He could have been driving at speed suited to the conditions. You should drive at a speed such that you can stop within the distance you can see. He obviously wasn't. Unless you are saying that the judge is right and it is perfectaly acceptable to drive in pitch blackness, in fog, around blind corners, and so on at any speed. He was driving recklessly and the result was a death.

He was also driving in the outside lane when the other lanes were clear and as such was misusing the lanes which I believe is also an offence and was certainly a contributing factor. If he's been following correct lane discipline the accident and subsequent death would not have happened.

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the point

I read the original case and am aware of what he was sentenced for, the point is that the original judge felt that even though the texting did not cause the accident he had been driving dangerously in such a manner that required a custodial sentence. Accident or not he was texting someone while driving in the fast lane of the motorway at night, pretty dangerous regardless of the outcome.

Now that sentence has been revoked, that is why I dislike this so intensely, the sentence had nothing to do with the death so it's pointless people trying to say he's justified in being let off as he didn't cause the death.

Once again one rule for some

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Something is wrong here

This is all wrong. All the points above make sense, but the sentence doesn't make sense within the facts.

You don't get a dangerous driving charge for being on a mobile phone with no connection to an accident. There's a specific law for mobile phones and that would result in points and a fine. Simple, if the accident and phone use were not related.

To get a dangerous driving charge, you have to be doing something much worse. So, why was the dangerous driving charge brought? If it was for using the mobile phone alone, he was very hard done by and got a substantially worse sentence than the masses. However, I don't think this was the case. I believe the dangerous driving charge was actually related to the accident.

If you hit a stationary obstacle on a road whatever the conditions, it's your fault. End of story. You should only drive as fast as you can reasonably see and stop in. That's the law. If you hit a stationary object, whatever the lighting etc.etc., it is your fault. Effectively, you have assumed the road is clear without being able to see it. That's the law. Insurance companies would also hold him and not the Slovak to blame for the crash. So, bearing in mind someone was killed, this is much more likely to be the reason for the charge of dangerous driving. It would also be about right. Death by dangerous driving would be a little harsh under the circumstances, as that normally requires you to be actively doing something dangerous like speeding, weaving around, just generally acting like a dick. He was not.

So, someone, somewhere has got this all very muddled up. The "facts" don't match the charge or, indeed, the sentence.

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"Fasciising Nepotitis"

...fairness eating disease.

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@ Ian Ferguson et al

NEVER spoil a good story for the sake of the truth. Seriously, see RotaCyclic's comment above and buy yourselves a copy of Roadcraft. If you drive/ride into someone, it's your fault. Why else was he jailed at all?

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Re; RotaCyclic

So, so many incorrect statements.

> we know the accident wasn't caused by texting, but

> the fact remains that he killed someone by dangerous driving!

Try publishing that statement in a newspaper then! I dare you

He texted whilst driving. That was his offence. At a later point, he was involved in an entirely unrelated and (according to the Judge) unavoidable accident. You might disagree with some of the Judges conclusions that but the FACT is he did not kill someone by dangerous driving and stating so leaves you open to all sorts of shit.

> It says, you should be travelling at a speed which you can see to stop in.

> If you're driving along then you should be travelling at a speed such that if

> something out of the blue happens, you have enough time to brake, to bring

> the car to a stop without hitting the object.

Again, complete bollocks. The first line is true, the second bit is some bizare, extreme conclusion you have drawn and, again, are now stating as fact when it is far from it. Owning some book doesn't make you an expert. I'm sure I have a copy of the bible around here somewhere but I'm fairly confident I couldn't construct a universe in 6 days. Get some practical experience from someone who has actually done some advanced driving and stop talking Yoda-esque zen bollocks.

Tell me, if you are driving on the motorway at 70mph, do you ALWAYS leave enough of a gap between you and the car in front for you to stop at that speed? Of course not. But this is what you state SHOULD be done.

In this case (again, as recommended by others, actually reading about the case helps) the Peer was following several other cars at night on an unlit stretch. The first few cars obstructed his view of the accident so he could have been travelling at a speed at which he could stop, but it wouldn't have helped. He couldn't see it. It was unavoidable. READ IT

And the Police DO NOT train you to avoid all accidents under all circumstances. Believe me.

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They keep saying the last text was sent two minutes before the crash

How was that established? I can see how they have an accurate time for the text - but who timed the collision? And if he had SENT a text two minutes before - why should we believe he wasn't READING or composing a text at the time of the impact? SOMETHING must have stopped him seeing the car he ran into.

Better stop typing before the capslock jams again...

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Ahmed the Bad

It seems, from the evidence I have read, that the man should not have been gaoled for his part in the death of the Audi driver. He should, perhaps, have been gaoled for being a twat by texting.

This twat should, however, definitely be gaoled for incitement to racial hatred for threatening to unleash 10,000 Muslims if Wilders was admitted to this country.

Nonetheless, I applaud this knobhead for further bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.

ID No: 377466209867647

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Unhappy

Hmmm!

The one thing everyone seems to have missed - he was sending multiple messages, in other words he was having a text message conversation, now what do the majority of mobile phone texters do when they have sent a message requiring a reply, they constantly look at the phone waiting for the message. So he sends a message two minutes before the crash, he is now distracted waiting for a reply, hence he is not fully in charge of his vehicle.

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Re: Do you really.....

Yes I bloody do if you're driving a bloody car at the time.

Let's think of a few other things that require concentration and coordinated action and consider whether you would send a text while doing them.

Free rock climbing.

Moving a bottle of nitroglycerine.

Juggling chainsaws.

Cycling down a cliff path.

You wouldn't?

The only difference here is that doing so while driving poses as much, if not more*, risk to some other poor bastard as it does to you.

The fact that this miserable git had finished his text session *before* running into something is pure luck. The fact that idiotic wankers like this still have driving licenses turns ordinary, day-to-day tasks (crossing the road, reversing out of your drive, riding a motorcycle) into a dice with death.

*The other party may not be encased in something that converts itself into a bouncy castle on wheels at the first sign of trouble.

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Lets be honest

To be fair, the other guy was stopped in the fast lane facing the wrong way.

However having said that, if a non-politician / non-copper had done the same thing, they would have gone down for five years or so.

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Anonymous Coward

George Orwell eat your heart out.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

@IT Angle

I get your point, I send a text on my phone at 13.44, and i get delivery report of 13.42, wonder if that factored into case.

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Alert

Points!

How about at least 3 points (per use) on his licence for using his mobile while driving?

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Anonymous Coward

The issue is not about the conviction.

The conviction was sound. Even the appeal lords ruled that the prison sentence was appropriate.

What is in question here is what the "exceptional circumstances" were, because it looks suspiciously like "oh, you're in the House of Lords, have a get out of jail free card".

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Anonymous Coward

Astroturf

My, my, a huge number of suspiciously similar well argued messages defending this most noble lord. Astroturf to the horizon...

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@RotaCylclic & Nathan

Re : Roadcraft

Yes, precisely. If you can't see then you change matters so that you can. Too many idiots drive on motorways on sidelights / foglights only at high speed.

Now a minor point, we drive on the left in this country. Said Lord whassername was in the outside lane and hit a stationary car. One would assume that he was that lane whilst in the process of overtaking other traffic; in which case there would be traffic ahead of him illuminating said stationary (and bollocksed) vehicle. It is often easy to see ahead by the lights of other vehicles and, since people have a tendency to slow down as they approach something dangerous it would normally make the presence of the vehicle even more apparent.

Frankly, I'd suggest that Lord thingummy was :-

a) in the incorrect lane

b) driving too quickly for the prevailing conditions and

c) likely to not be using all the facilities at his disposal to make the road ahead more visible

and thus safer for all.

Which probably (in my inexpert opinion) boils nicely down to driving without due care and attention and quite possibly causing death by dangerous driving - at the very least it was driving like a idiot.

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huh???

"I suppose the judge could be simply taking Ahmed's word that such was the case but I'd like to think that for such an important legal decision there was some precise way of establishing that two minute gap, some technical method of accurately measuring the time between when a text was sent and some other indicator/activity from the mobile."

What - you mean like comparing the time of the last sent text message to the time the accident actually occurred? I am sure that it's occurred to someone at some point through the trial...

Driving faster than the road that you can actually see (and stop in time for obstructions) is dangerous - and that's why he was convicted of dangerous driving. I'm in the string-em-up school of traffic law (from personal experience of being involved in a fatal accident) but I don't think that 12 weeks in prison for a first conviction of dangerous driving seems unduly lenient. In fact, I am surprised that it led to prison at all.

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Unhappy

Above the law

Right, I'm off to do some speeding and texting, with luck I'll hit Jacqui Smith.

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Typical

MPs are immune from the law, no matter what crimes they commit. This is disgusting, but expected in Britain where all our MPs a the lowest form of scum imaginable.

Is it any wonder that voter turn out is so low when killers such as this escape justice?

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