A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Friday, February 03, 2012

Strange case of Robert Whatley and a window smashing cop

Gwent policeman wields an iron bar as he smashes the car
I am all in favour of good road manners, driving safely and generally behaving well whilst on the highway. As we hear today of Chris Huhne facing charges for perverting the course of justice, another motoring story pops up again. First I've heard of it, but it's been news in Wales. Businessman Robert Whately was chased by traffic cops from Gwent Police because they had spotted him driving without a seat belt on, having tinted windows and a number plate that did not meet legal requirements. Having caught up with Mr.Whatley one policeman takes a crowbar to the offending man's offending vehicle and proceeds to smash the driver's window in. Looking at a photo of Mr.Whatley he seems a rather benign 71-year old. Maybe a tad petulant and stroppy, I don't know, because he did drive off rather than stopping in the first place. Plus he admitted to the wrongdoing. His point was that his car didn't need smashing up as well.

My disquiet here is that Gwent Police paid out large sums of money rather than face a court case. Jeff Farrar, the deputy chief constable, says, "Contesting the matter further would have incurred substantial legal costs if the case had gone to court". Does he think he might have lost? If so, he is suggesting that, in the matter of smashing the vehicle, the police did do wrong. But a disciplinary panel made up of officers from another force later cleared the two Gwent officers, finding that their actions were justified. Mr. Farrar goes on to say, "whilst we maintain our position that we do not admit liability, a decision was made to settle the matter out of court on financial grounds." That's weasel words. If their view was justified then a court would have thrown out the case. If not, Mr.Whately would have been awarded damages, anything from £1 upwards.

All too often, institutions and corporate business cave in and pay off those seeking redress in "out-of-court settlements" rather than admit liability. Look at the lying and cheating bosses of Network Rail, who deliberately withheld information about a dodgy rail crossing at which two girls died. If justice is being perverted, then it's being perverted in this way. Let a judge and jury decide whether a driver is worthy of an award of damages from a policeman wielding a crowbar against his vehicle.

Gwent Police may think they are not liable in this matter but they are palpably guilty of using perverse methods to obtain their goals.


It's an asp not a crowbar.

f*ck the rich bitches
hate them

That's not a particularly nice thing to say. Possibly silence may have been better.

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