Opinion: ‘When justice doesn’t add up’

Peterborough Telegraph deputy editor Nigel Thornton writes:

Speed checks.
Speed checks.

Last week saw the return of the court list to the pages of the Peterborough Telegraph.

It had been another victim of the coronavirus pandemic – although sadly it didn’t mean nobody was breaking the law.

The list of those convicted at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court is not a who’s who of Mr Bigs. It’s not a roll call of criminal masterminds.It’s a list of petty criminals and, in the case of motoring offenders, not even really criminals at all (hands up anyone who drives a car who has not hit 36mph in a 30mph zone?).

My aim is not to trivialise speeding; quite the opposite. I fully endorse the Speed Kills safety message and anyone who gets caught speeding should be punished.

Talking of endorsements, I reckon the law has it about right with three points and a fine for a ‘normal’ speeding offence, ie not an idiotic 150mph on the A1 or 60 mph on Dogsthorpe Road.

And under the totting up procedure you get three chances – if you are caught a fourth time it will get you to 12 points and a ban.

In this day and age most of us rely on our cars –to be without them would be a huge inconvenience so having reached nine points you might think a serial speeder would think twice.

Or maybe not, because it seems the totting up system doesn’t add up.

In last week’s court list there were no fewer than three speeding motorists who should have been banned under totting up.

But none of them were, with the guilty parties being able to avoid a ban claiming ‘exceptional hardship’.

There were some details about one person who was spared . It read “ No totting disqualification – Exceptional hardship found – as an estate agent – impact on housing situation and on trainees he is responsible for.’’

I Googled what constitutes ‘exceptional hardship’ and the top hit took to me a solicitors’ website which boasted: “Our success rate for helping totting up clients avoid a six month ban is over 94% per cent.’’

Wow, 94 per cent, not very exceptional at all.

.....

It doesn’t possess the dark romanticism of an Agincourt or a Waterloo, but the Battle of Werrington Fence is shaping up to be a real saga.

The two camps – a school and a group of residents – are entrenched in their views.

Both sides care passionately and we should care that they care.

The school’s priority is safeguarding children, while the residents’ group are battling to save green space for the community.

That doesn’t mean the school doesn’t care about green space for residents or that the protestors don’t care about child safety.

Both aims are laudable, but, sadly, it seems that no suitable compromise can be reached.

Worse than that , the saga has descended into acrimony and whatever the outcome, er, fences will have to be mended.

The comments from both sides are carefully worded and civil, but even so you can feel the fury and the frustation seeping through.

As an impartial bystander I have changed my mind several times on whose side I favour.

So don’t take offence, but I’m going to sit on the fence (even though it’s not built yet)!

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Posh fans have been hit hard by the loss of club legend Tommy Robson. I must be one of the few people in Peterborough who didn’t know Tommy – he was so much part of the fabric of the city.

But I know plenty of people who did and without exception every one says he was a lovely man always armed with a smile and a kind word.

In his later days he suffered from that terrible condition Motor Neurone Disease but he kept smiling and fighting.

In these days of pandemic most of us can find a reason to feel sorry for ourselves, but I bet Tommy wasn’t one of them.

.....

What a great idea by Colin Wilson of The Falcon Hotel in Whittlesey, who, for £8.95 is offering a socially distanced workspace with wifi, unlimited tea and coffee, a bacon butty for breakfast and a sandwich and a mug of soup for lunch.

It reminds me of back in the ‘80s when a spate of pubs opened across the country called The Office. How we laughed when tardy husbands told their wives (it was the 80s!) they were in the 
office without lying.

.....

The case of the killer driver who has gone on the run is truly shocking. The family of veterinary nurse Rachel Radwell, who died because of the dangerous driving of foreign national Vyautas Kiminius, are devastated. The rest of us are left shaking our heads as to how he was let out on bail after being found guilty and facing a certain jail sentence.

There are questions for the police, the judiciary... and the politicians to answer.

If we get answers, don’t expect them to be satisfactory.