A Tale For Our Times…..

by Gareth R Roberts on July 31, 2017

Pick, as they say, the bones out of this….

I was in Court last week – the case involved a horrible road traffic accident, where a young Albanian delivery van driver had attempted to overtake a HGV when it was clearly dangerous to do so and ploughed headlong into the path of an oncoming car tragically killing the elderly driver.

Most barristers hate these cases – my client, a young man of impeccable character, had made a catastrophic mistake, but had no intention to cause any harm, let alone the death of another person. He wasn’t a drug addict or a drunkard, he wasn’t dishonest or violent – he was, for a period of about ten seconds, stupid.

I met him outside Court – he was besuited and bookish looking, with an equally bookish looking girlfriend nervously touching his arm in an attempt to comfort. His English was excellent and he told me that he had been living with his girlfriend in the UK, lawfully and productively, without incident for the last 7 years. He told me that his Father was a Palestinian Doctor who had fled to Albania in the early 1990s when it became impractical for him to work on the West Bank – he, himself had been a law student in Albania and had come over to the UK because it was far more lucrative to drive vans delivering parcels in Britain than appear in a Court in Tirana.

He cried, silent undramatic tears, when I asked him about the incident and he explained that he didn’t really want me to mitigate, saying that it was right that he receive whatever punishment the Court imposed – I told him I respected this, but that it was my duty to let the Court know everything I could that would help the Court impose the right sentence. He then reluctantly, and with obvious shame, told me that he was on a zero-hours contract delivering goods for a massive, global on-line company, and that as part of his contract his wages would be docked if his van was in any way damaged. He told me that as he was driving behind the HGV, it was kicking up chippings and that he was nervous that they would damage the van and see a reduction of his wages, something that he could ill afford – so, he made the fateful decision to overtake.

He then asked me if it would be possible for him to write to the widow and family of the deceased to express his sympathy and sorrow, and I told him, that i’d ensure that that could happen.

He then asked me, with thin lipped stoicism, what sentence he could expect and I told him that he would go to prison for between two and four years and he nodded – he asked me if this meant that he would be automatically be deported back to Albania and I told him that it would. Then surprisingly (because in the past this has been a negative thing for EU citizens convicted of criminal offences)  when I asked him if that was a bad thing and started to advise him of his right to appeal against that – he shook his head and told me that he wanted to go back home now because the UK had nothing left for him any more – ‘we,’ he told me, ‘are no longer welcome.’

As I said, pick the bones from this tragic tale.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Eddie Kaye August 11, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Nice too see you back Gareth/ Ray/ ATIS. So sad the blog must be such a tragic tale.

Obviously everything about this is wrong. Too much to rant about in one response. This is a case study of how post Brexit uk looks like. Not a land I would inhabit by choice.

I will leave you (sadly not for a Tuscany villa) with a sobering counterpart. Somewhere right now a public school educated spoilt bastard mummy’s boy is getting into a souped up car they were given. They will drive said car like ben hur on speed never giving a shit about the consequences. Sobering indeed.


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