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Harry Dunn

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barbados
1341202.  Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:32 am Reply with quote

You know when the last one would have flown to the uk surely a tolerance of one is allowable? I have been to sleep a number of times since then ;)

The one thing I do recall was itís (the pilotís) tardiness :)

 
PDR
1341205.  Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:27 am Reply with quote

This is QI, the spiritual home of pedantry!

:0)

Mind you, if you read the cospiricy theorist forums you'd kno that the SR72 actually entered service in 1948 and is currently going through a major upgrade programme to fit the new nanobot chemtrail delivery units ready for the Kent/Sussex missions next month...

PDR

 
barbados
1341206.  Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:44 am Reply with quote

Good job I live in Surrey then isnít it;)

 
suze
1341230.  Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:23 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
Not that I'm aware of, and I don't have any data on which to take a view as to whether there actually is a greater incidence of it here or that there is just a greater awareness of/sensitivity to it at Croughton due to these events. I have heard it suggested that the direct exit onto a major road and the layout of the junction are part of the problem, but neither is particularly unusual for for air bases in the UK (cf RAF Wittering and the A1).


I did have a thought on this earlier today, although it may be nonsense.

The American personnel at (eg) Lakenheath are members of the Armed Forces. An airman based there knows that he will get his ass busted if he - or his wife - is caught on the wrong side of the road, and he remembers that day when the sergeant made him do one hundred pressups while chanting "In Britain you drive on the left". So he remembers the rules over here, and he makes damn sure that his wife knows them too.

Contrast with Croughton, where a lot of the American personnel are civilians who are more or less spies. No one ever made them do one hundred pressups, and if they're caught on the wrong side but don't hit anyone, the consequence will be a memo rather than a beasting.

 
PDR
1341233.  Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:54 pm Reply with quote

Perhaps, but personally I doubt it. In the UK we have the Visiting Forces Act which essentially gives specified foreign military organisations the option of using their own Military Justice processes for personnel accused of crimes committed or indictable in the UK. It's an absolute privilege to pre-empt (ie it's their choice). As a result there have been significant numbers of cases of what we regard as serious crimes (like rape, assault, drink-driving with damage or injury etc) committed by service personnel who have been put in front of a base commander for "administrative punishment" and given pretty silly sentences (fines, loss of seniority, periods of confinement to barracks etc).

As you know, in past roles I have worked closely with american military personnel (Marine Corps, USAF and USN) deployed to the UK and I have to say they openly describe it as a "cushy deployment" because they are actually briefed to not worry about local law enforcement. They are told to simply do their best to get back on base and then the service will see them right.

Now while the people I worked with weren't the kind to murder, rape or assault, or even drink-drive, they did accumulate a fair number of motoring offences - usually speeding. If they were caught doing 100mph on the A1 by a speed camera they could expect a 5 minute dressing down and a nominal $30 fine. If they were caught by the police, but made it back onto the base, they could expect similar. In fact the only sanction that had significant effect was to confiscate the car. The personnel knew this and tended to drive much faster in MT transport (owned by the US Government) than in their own cars. If their own car was confiscated they would never get it back, but if an MT vehicle was confiscated the US Embassy would demand its return (and get it), but the individual would still only get the $30 fine unless the base commander was either unusually diplomatic or having a bad day.

I'm ashamed to say that one of my friends was a USMC harrier pilot on secondment, and in a 9 month period he racked over 20 offences for over 100mph on the A1. He had a framed disciplinary slip on his wall for one of them which had him clocked by a speed camera at 155mph in his AMG-mercedes.

So if anything I would expect civilian staff to be MORE careful because they may not be covered by the VFA. Although the reported events in this case suggest they are still briefed to do whatever is necessary to get safely back on base ASAP.

PDR

 
suze
1341248.  Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:27 pm Reply with quote

Thanks, PDR. I discover that the Labour Party opposed the Visiting Forces Act 1952 on its passage through Parliament, and a certain kind of Labour MP has opposed it from time to time since. The late Willie Hamilton (Fife Central) used to do it for fun, and a young fellow named Corbyn once joined him in that.

The way that the Act is written, "Visiting Forces" are defined as being from named Commonwealth nations, and from such other nations as shall from time to time be specified by Order in Council. There is an Order in Council which states that the Act applies to Americans, so it would need only another Order in Council - and not an Act - to disapply it from Americans. In reality that's never going to happen since such treatment of visiting service personnel is more or less a rule of being in NATO, but the possibility is there.

The aforementioned Mr Corbyn used to argue that NATO ought to be abolished, but while it exists even he has never argued that the UK should unilaterally leave it. (Dominic Raab did once make the accusation, but retracted it after being advised that it wasn't true.)

However ... I am now indebted to the fairly obnoxious former MP David Mellor for a workaround which just might be relevant to the matter at hand. There was a late night Commons debate on the VFA in 1983, in which Willie Hamilton went down his well trodden road, and it fell to Mr Mellor to reply for the government. (Hansard)

He said: "If he commits an act that is an offence against the law of the country in which he is stationed but is not against the law of his own country ... the authorities of the country in which he is stationed have exclusive jurisdiction". Since David Mellor is a QC I shall take it that he has the law correct, and we have our answer.

Acts such as rape, murder, shoplifting, and drunk driving are against the law in both Britain and the US, which means that the US can pre-empt and (not) deal with the matter in its own way. But driving on the right hand side of the road is not illegal in the US - and therefore the UK alone has jurisdiction if an American service person does it.

No, it's not what the law was intended to cover. That rule is there because we don't want Americans strolling into Tesco with their guns in their pockets in a way that we don't do in Britain. Yes, the Americans would get rather cross if we used it to prosecute an American for driving on the wrong side of the road - but we'd probably only have to do it once.

 
barbados
1341251.  Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:41 pm Reply with quote

That doesnít get us the answer in this case though does it?
Because The offence of driving on the right hand side of the road is not real is it? (It is perfectly legal to drive on certain roads in the uk) what Mrs Sacoolas did (allegedly) do was drive without due care and attention, which is an offence in the US, as is causing death by dangerous driving ( my understanding is the due care bit is escalated due to the death or serious injury)

 
PDR
1341254.  Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:35 am Reply with quote

At the time it happened I thought it was interesting that the base commander didn't invoke the VFA. My conjecture is that this shows Ms Sacoolas is definitely a civilian and that Mr Sacoolas is also a civilian and that neither are actually employed by, seconded to or working under a branch of the US Military. If either were employed by, seconded to or working under a branch of the US Military then while living on the base they would fall under US Military law and the base commander would have the authority (under the VFA) to jump in. This would be true even if it was only Mr Sacoolas who was under the military and Ms Sacoolas' only connection was to be married to him (we don't actually know which or both of them is the one who does the spook stuff) because families of service personnel living on-base do come under military law for more than enough things to arguably claim VFA pre-emption.

For me this does rather support what we already suspected - that one or both of them are employed by either the CIA or the NSA (probably the latter IMHO for reasons I won't go into). I think this is the reason why it's got rather messy from a diplomacy point of view, because there are lots of sensitivities around having undeclared intelligence people working in friendly nations, and the whole "we have an informal understanding that people at Croughton have some sort of honorary diplomatic status" thing seems to have very little basis in actual law. I suspect there may have been lots of conversations between the home office, the foreign office and the police in which the former two say they let them have diplomatic status but the police say "you may want to, but it has no actual basis in law" or similar.

All just speculation, of course.

PDR

 
suze
1341265.  Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:51 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Because The offence of driving on the right hand side of the road is not real is it? (It is perfectly legal to drive on certain roads in the uk


I don't know which statute (if any) sets out that we drive on the left in the UK. But if there is one, and it is worded something like "Thou must drive on the left unless there are signs saying otherwise", then just maybe there is a specific offence of being on the right hand side of the road.

You're quite right to say that more serious driving offences such as those alleged against Mrs Sacoolas are crimes in the US as well, and so the VFA might come to her rescue here. But, and as PDR suggests just below you, most seem to be assuming that the Sacoolases are both civilians - and in that case, the VFA doesn't apply. That's why the US had to resort to the dubious claim of diplomatic immunity to get them out of the country and keep them out of the country.

 
ali
1341268.  Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:33 am Reply with quote

The Highway Act, 1835, Section LXXVIII requires that vehicles etc. should keep left when passing vehicles etc. coming in the other direction.



Quote:
...or if the Driver of any Waggon, Cart, or other Carriage whatsoever, or of any Horses, Mules, or other Beast of Draught or Burthen, meeting any other Waggon, Cart, or other Carriage, or Horses, Mules, or other Beasts of Burthen, shall not keep his Waggon, Cart, or Carriage, or Horses, Mules, or other Beasts of Burthen, on the Left or Near Side of the Road; or if any Person shall in any Manner wilfully prevent any other Person from passing him, or any Waggon, Cart, or other Carriage, or Horses, Mules, or other Beasts of Burthen, under his Care, upon such Highway, or by Negligence or Misbehaviour prevent, hinder, or interrupt the free Passage of any Person, Waggon, Cart, or other Carriage, or Horses, Mules, or other Beasts of Burthen, on any Highway, or shall not keep his Waggon, Cart, or other Carriage, or Horses, Mules, or other Beasts of Burthen, on the Left or Near Side of the Road, for the Purpose of allowing such Passage;...

...shall, in addition to any Civil Action to which he may make himself liable, for every such Offence forfeit any Sum not exceeding Five Pounds in case such Driver shall not be the Owner of such Waggon, Cart, or other Carriage,

 
barbados
1341269.  Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:43 am Reply with quote

Iím not going to discuss the diplomatic status, because the truth is we donít know what their status was - the intelligence nature of one of their roles means we will probably never know other than one of the was covered by some convention or another.

Iíd guess that rather than statute, it was convention that led to driving on the left. If it were to be statute, then for example driving down Savoy Court would involve you breaking the law, and Iím not 100% certain, but I donít think you can be directed to break the law.

 
suze
1341283.  Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:19 pm Reply with quote

ali wrote:
The Highway Act, 1835, Section LXXVIII requires that vehicles etc. should keep left when passing vehicles etc. coming in the other direction.


Thanks ali.

That suggests to me that the Northamptonshire Police absolutely does have the power to fine American service personnel found on the wrong side of the road the sum of £5.

£5 was a lot of money in 1835, while in 2020 it's not really worth the paperwork. Even so, it might perhaps concentrate a few minds.

 
PDR
1341284.  Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:44 pm Reply with quote

I'd be surprised if the USA (at federal and state levels) doesn't have a corresponding law. I'm sure that from a VFA perspective the detail that it mandates driving on the other side wouldn't prevent it being a sufficiently similar law for the VFA to apply.

But this is just conjecture on my part, of course.

PDR

 
barbados
1341285.  Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:50 am Reply with quote

Also, if the collision was with the right hand half of the car, that would suggest the vehicles, technically, were to the left of each other.

However..........
Wasnít the Highway act 1853 changed to the highways act in 1886 which has been amended a number of times since then?

 
ali
1341293.  Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:29 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Also, if the collision was with the right hand half of the car, that would suggest the vehicles, technically, were to the left of each other.

However..........
Wasnít the Highway act 1853 changed to the highways act in 1886 which has been amended a number of times since then?


My main point was in showing that driving on the left was statute law rather than common law. Anyway, there's not much of the 1835 Act left, but section 78 is.

 

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