Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Craig Ramshaw walks away free.

Death crash teenager not guilty.

An 18-year-old has been cleared of killing four friends by dangerous driving days after passing his test. The jury at Cardiff Crown Court did find Craig Ramshaw, of Ebbw Vale, guilty of careless driving and he was given a conditional discharge.

Ramshaw was driving along a mountain road in Powys, at around 2100 GMT on 2 November 2006, when he lost control. Backseat passengers Danielle Caswell, Katie Roberts, both 15, and Louise Jones and Kayleigh Parry, 16, all died.

Ramshaw was also been banned from driving for two years and will have to retake his test. Judge Nicholas Cooke QC told him: "Human life is priceless and I feel it would be interpreted as an insult to the memory of the four girls if I imposed a financial penalty on you."

Patrick Harrington QC, defending, asked the jury if Ramshaw's driving fell below the standard expected of an ordinary competent driver, in which case he said it was careless. Or was it, he asked, "far" below that standard - in which case, it was dangerous. He invited the jury to conclude that days after passing his driving test, Ramshaw had made a minor error - turning the wheel slightly too far on a bend - which had resulted in the deaths and had wrecked the lives of many families. He stressed to the jury that the police driver who had given evidence for the prosecution, had himself conceded that a minor error could have caused the crash.

...Well, well, well, this is a big surprise. I am shocked at the decision of this jury in Cardiff. Ramshaw had lost control of his car and four girls were killed. This was not a careless clipping of the kerb resulting in a bit of tyre or body damage. How can this be a minor error, his car flipped over? This was not a little jolt that resulted in a bit of whiplash to the girls, they were thrown out of the vehicle. We all know that if you go around a bend too quickly that vehicles will flip over. I think his defence barrister only won the day because the police driver who had given evidence for the prosecution, had himself conceded that a minor error could have caused the crash. What I think the police driver meant was that a SIMPLE error could have caused the crash. Because of the subtleties of our language the prosecution lost it's case of causing death by dangerous driving. I do not know why the jury did not consider the bigger picture and find Ramshaw guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. For the judge to award a conditional discharge and no fines against Ramshaw is beyond me. Four human lives were avoidably lost and awarding no fines or punishment values the four girl's lives as nothing more than broken eggs on a supermarket shopping trip. Justice has clearly not been done and Craig Ramshaw has got off free.
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