(MISS-)use of diplomatic immunity.!

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
6,070
I don’t see how there was criminal liability there. She was newly in the country and momentarily forgot to drive on the “wrong” side of the road.

It was a tragic accident. Doesn’t a crime require intent?

I believe, in the U.S. this would have been a civil case and handled by insurance.
 

Thread Starter

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
26,263
Wrong, at least in most of the civilized world,
Of course it was a crime, she killed someone as a result of neglect.
A recent case here where a truck driver missed a stop sign and ploughed into a school bus and killed some kids, gets 8years in prison.
She got away with it purely because of diplomatic immunity, had she been an ordinary US citizen, she would have payed the price, and rightly so !. :rolleyes:
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
6,671
It's a poor excuse - the road has been marked very clearly for the benefit of American staff at the airbase. Nowhere else in Britain, except near the ferry and Channel tunnel terminals at Dover is the road marked with arrows indicating on which side to drive. (Picture is from google maps, but you can tell which marking have been superimposed by Google and which are on the road)
Screenshot at 2022-12-09 22-28-32.png
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
10,675
Another disgusting case where diplomatic immunity is used to escape the consequences of breaking the law.
https://ca.news.yahoo.com/us-woman-anne-sacoolas-avoids-162248088.html
Sad but that's the price all pay for immunity clauses that are approved by the host country. The HOST country approves SOF and immunity agreements as being in their greater interest knowing at the guilty will escape local justice. It's the price we pay that the individual injured party must sometimes pay for a greater good.
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/thought-for-the-day.44743/post-1438551
 
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SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,484
What seems to be overlooked is that she voluntarily returned to England to face justice after being told not to by the US State Department. Sorry state of affairs and the US Government position seems to be not to blemish the right to Diplomatic Immunity under any circumstances. Not to belittle the case but the City of New York would love to collect the hundreds of thousands of USD in parking tickets, traffic violation fines, and late penalties racked up by the Foreign Diplomats at the UN who tend to ignore such trivial matters under color of Diplomatic Immunity and park where and when they wish to and ignore US traffic laws.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,597
I don’t see how there was criminal liability there. She was newly in the country and momentarily forgot to drive on the “wrong” side of the road.

It was a tragic accident. Doesn’t a crime require intent?

I believe, in the U.S. this would have been a civil case and handled by insurance.
It is hard to see with your eyes so tightly closed. The NHTSA doesn't use the word "accident" anymore, because they are nearly all preventable by training, attention and preventative maintenance. They are now called "crashes".
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
9,508
Just about every time I went back to the United States I would catch myself driving on the wrong side of the road when in areas with no other traffic. Sometimes it is difficult to adapt every time one gets behind the wheel.

Notice that I sidestepped the diplomatic immunity issue. Not my place to say.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,484
No personal experience but from my understanding what she did was to pull out of the base and turn right into what would have been her traffic lane in the US but was into oncoming traffic. Which I am told is a very common mistake for US drivers not used to driving in England.
 

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
9,626
No personal experience but from my understanding what she did was to pull out of the base and turn right into what would have been her traffic lane in the US but was into oncoming traffic. Which I am told is a very common mistake for US drivers not used to driving in England.
I've had none other than an Asian woman driving on the wrong side of the road in New Jersey drive right at me as i turned onto the road on the correct side of the road pulling out of a parking lot. It was nuts but kind of funny. Lucky we didnt crash.
On this particular road there was a grassy divider dividing the two sides of the road, and she mistakenly thought the one side was the entire road so she drove down it on what she thought was the correct side (ha ha).
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
9,508
My wife and I were nearly wiped out on our rented motorbike when turning the onto the wrong side a road in Bermuda, where they drive on the left side of the road. Fortunately, the driver coming right at us was accustomed to seeing tourists driving on the wrong side of the road, smiled and stopped while we got back on our side of the road. Making turns is most dangerous with respect to winding up on the wrong side of the road.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,484
Yes, we were nearly involved in a head-on collision at night on a sub-divided 4 lane by an elderly couple who thought they were on a 2-lane road. Unfortunately, the car in front of us did manage not to hit them directly head-on but sideswiped them pretty badly totaling both cars but without any serious injuries.

The craziest thing I ever saw was on the way to work on I-95 many years ago. I was in the fast lane going southbound and, in the distance, I noticed something odd. As I got closer, it was a guy on a bicycle going northbound in the middle of the southbound fast lane. I moved back into the slow lane and as I passed by him, he appeared to be East Indian and I can only assume had absolutely no idea what an Interstate Highway was and unable to read the signs in English on the ramp saying no bicycles allowed.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
27,862
What seems to be overlooked is that she voluntarily returned to England to face justice after being told not to by the US State Department.
She did?

My understanding was that she appeared via video conference and that the magistrate explicitly noted that the sentence could not be enforced because she was not present in the country.

Diplomatic immunity is a "big-picture" concept and, as such, it is unfortunately not particularly useful to bemoan the "small" injustices that have resulted.

It is in everyone's interest that nations be able to carry out diplomatic relations, at various levels, even with other nations with which they have an adversarial relationship or are even at outright war with. For instance, for much of history diplomats of countries that went to war were arrested and imprisoned. This makes it hard to keep carrying out diplomatic efforts to avert hostilities as the situation worsens. But in WWII, diplomats from the various countries were in the opposing nations up until after the shooting started and were then evacuated via neutral countries. Even Germany and Japan honored those obligations.

Family members of some categories of diplomats are also afforded diplomatic immunity to prevent host countries from using them as pawns. Furthermore, people who have diplomatic immunity cannot waive it -- it can only be waived by their home government. This is to prevent host governments from detaining diplomats or their family members and then coercing them into giving up their immunity (or just claiming that they did).

While the home government can waive immunity, and this does happen from time to time, most countries adhere to a policy of never doing so on the basis that it sets a precedent. If immunity is waived today in Situation A for perfectly reasonable grounds, then the host country has a lever to go after a diplomatic target tomorrow by, if need be, staging a Situation A involving that diplomat.

The degree to which diplomatic abuses happen is, to a large degree, indicative of the degree of corruption in the home country. This isn't too surprising. In most countries, diplomats face career-altering or -ending sanctions in their home countries for violations of host-country laws for which diplomatic immunity was invoked. They are often recalled and either administratively disciplined or even charged and tried under home-country laws (for which they have no immunity). Knowing that your career can end because your kids acted up results in most (definitely not all) diplomats making sure that they and their families toe the line when in a host country.
 

ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
16,755
My understanding was that she appeared via video conference and that the magistrate explicitly noted that the sentence could not be enforced because she was not present in the country.
hi,
This is also my understanding, following the case on UK media.

E
 

Thread Starter

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
26,263
The first 30 years of my life existed in the UK, and from when I can remember, there has been US air bases there, a couple that were near to where I lived, I knew and partied with many of the family's that lived off-base.
They of course brought their US auto's with them, which at that time were of a size that just about took up the whole of small English country roads.
During that time, I never heard of any of them reported driving on the wrong side or any accidents due to it.
I had the same driving experience when I came to Canada and soon got the hang of it. Driving on the right, that is. :rolleyes:
 
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