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Has the Law gone mad? What do you think?
25-01-2005, 11:01 AM
Post: #1
Has the Law gone mad? What do you think?

Driver fined for clutching apple

[Image: _40756069_mccaffrey203.jpg] Driver Sarah McCaffery was fined for holding an apple

A woman who held an apple while driving a car around a corner has been fined £60 and ordered to pay £100 costs.

Sarah McCaffery was pulled over in December 2003 by police who mistakenly thought she was on her mobile phone.

They spotted the fruit and issued her with a £30 ticket saying she was not in proper control of her Ford Ka.

The 23-year-old of Blackpool Parade, Hebburn, appealed, but was convicted by magistrates on Monday. Her solicitor said the case was "nonsensical."



Geoffrey Forrester, defending, also criticised Northumbria Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for ordering aerial photographs for the trial, which lasted just two-and-a-half hours at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court

'Perfect' manoeuvre

But on Monday the court ruled McCaffery was not in proper control of her car when she negotiated a left hand turn with the apple in her right hand.

Mr Forrester said his client carried out the manoeuvre into the road "perfectly".

He said: "Nothing illustrates the nonsense of this case more than the resources that have been thrown at it."

But chairman of the bench, Ken Buck, said: "We accept that there are times when you can drive with one hand, but, in holding an apple while negotiating a left hand turn, we consider you not to have been in full control."

Chris Kay, prosecuting, said the cost of the case, not including the aerial photographs and video, was £425. A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "We were obliged to gather all appropriate evidence to present our case. "Costs do not have a bearing on any decision to prosecute."


Was this worth the costs involved? I admit to driving while changing radio channels, am I a danger?

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25-01-2005, 12:38 PM
Post: #2
Has the Law gone mad? What do you think?
Well, as far as has the law gone mad goes, no, I don't think so - if you are eating or drinking while you are driving you are not in proper contol of your car, much as if you are holding a phone in your hand.

As far as was the court case worth the costs, I suppose you would have to ask that about any court case, not just this one. But if the costs really were the £425 you quoted here, I think it was quite cheap and so yes, worth the costs.

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25-01-2005, 12:42 PM
Post: #3
Has the Law gone mad? What do you think?
The costs for the prosecution came to £10,000, just been on the TV, I didn't realise it was not stated above.

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25-01-2005, 01:05 PM (This post was last modified: 25-01-2005 01:09 PM by survivorfan.)
Post: #4
Has the Law gone mad? What do you think?
Eternity Wrote:I admit to driving while changing radio channels, am I a danger?
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The thing is - if you look down while you're fiddling with the dials - potentially you are a danger.

I remember a case a few years ago where a car driver was reaching across for some sweets, they might have been in the glove compartment or on the passenger dashboard, he lost control of the car and someone was killed.

In the apple case, I'd be interested to know what the offence was, was it simply that she was driving erratically, or is it an offence to have food or drink in one hand when you are driving even if you are keeping the car on an even course.

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25-01-2005, 01:18 PM
Post: #5
Has the Law gone mad? What do you think?
I think it's all about "due care and attention".

A car is a lethal weapon, cars kill people, regularly. Actually, scratch that, cars don't kill people, drivers kill people - often drivers who weren't using due care and attention. To me, drving a car without paying full attention is exactly the same as playing with a loaded gun.

It amazes me how many people leave all sense of danger behind them once they sit behind the wheel of a comfortable car, they feel invincible, more powerful, ready to fight any comers, and feel that the law doesn't apply to them as somehow they're "different" to everyone else. Also that mentality that they will never be involved in an accident as they've never been involved in one yet.

Yes, eating an apple is a trivial thing, but then how much effort would it have taken the driver to finish her apple before she set off on her journey, or to wait until she's got wherever she was going?


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25-01-2005, 01:20 PM
Post: #6
Has the Law gone mad? What do you think?
Apparently she was driving perfectly, but was spotted with an apple in her hand - she had committed no driving offence. The law states it was no different to her holding a mobile phone, weather it was in use or not!

I have had days where I have had to drive over 400 miles, happened recently when I also had a bad cough, and had a water bottle by me to sip at through the journey, (One of those with the drinking cap on) along with cough tablets. You can't forever be pulling over on a motorway or country road, that in itself is an offence, and hacking away is a danger - so where are the limits put? None of us are perfect, and we don't all sit like robots at the wheel.

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25-01-2005, 01:23 PM
Post: #7
Has the Law gone mad? What do you think?
BTW, I drive an automatic, so I never, or seldom have to worry about gear change. They will be having you for that next - not having both hands on the wheel at all times! Huh

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25-01-2005, 01:23 PM
Post: #8
Has the Law gone mad? What do you think?
Oh and I forgot this bit :bye: :

As to costs, that's a whole different argument, unless we want to start to develop some some of rating system for crimes. The fact that she was driving dangerously meant she could have killed someone, it's almost irrelevant whether or not she got lucky and didn't.


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25-01-2005, 01:26 PM
Post: #9
Has the Law gone mad? What do you think?
Quote from post #1

Mr Forrester said his client carried out the manoeuvre into the road "perfectly".

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25-01-2005, 01:27 PM
Post: #10
Has the Law gone mad? What do you think?
Eternity Wrote:

Mr Forrester said his client carried out the manoeuvre into the road "perfectly".


Well he would do really, wouldn't he, being her defence lawyer Smile


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