WARNING: This entry contains infrequent use of low level coarse language.
“Bowel cancer!” said Peter Winkler to the grinning & agreeing postman “Bloody bowel cancer. Then it’s bladder cancer. Then it’s lung cancer. What next? Tooth cancer?”
The postman had just dropped off a bowel cancer screening kit which were done randomly. Peter, a Registered Nurse was vehemently opposed to this. “It’s scaremongering. Somebody’s making a buck out of it & it ain’t me. What’s in this package? It’s plastic. Who manufactures plastic? Oil companies….who give their little Government a kickback for playing ball with them. It’s all a game to them. A numbers game….& it sucks!”
Peter got completely sidetracked to the fact that he was taking his son, Greg, out on a driving lesson. He figured he had better settle down. So did his wife & Greg when they saw him reach for a book.
After about an hours reading, Peter had calmed down and said to Greg, “Hey mate, fancy going for a spin to Ridgley & back?” Greg jumped up & said, “Ready when you are,” with his van keys in his hands. Peter & his wife bought Greg a van to renovate as Greg wanted to go camping.
Ridgley was a 9km drive each way with an 80km an hour speed limit so there was less chance of Greg being tailgated. Prior to going to Ridgley Peter would always take Greg into town to get petrol. This was peters way of teaching Greg how to drive through busy traffic and practise his gear changes.
Greg was a proficient & alert driver but Greg was always on the lookout for areas that could be improved upon.
As they left their home they were in a 60km zone. Just after entering an 80km zone there is an entrance to Massey Green Drive which is for trucks only. On this day as Greg approached the intersection he hadn’t reached 80kph. He & Peter noticed a truck amble up to it. It kept coming. Simultaneously Peter & Greg said,, “Shit!” Greg hit the brakes & screeched to a halt. They were confronted by the logs of the truck turning. They would be no more than one metre from the truck. Greg had the presence of mind to write down the number plate as the truck continued on its way.
Greg was shaken so Peter took the wheel, drove straight to the police station & reported the incident to an apathetic young officer. Peter was furious. “I’d like to see your senior. We were nearly killed for Christs sake!” The young officer did as he was told and an older officer presented. He took it more seriously. “I’ll need a statement from you both in separate rooms, then fill out a formal complaint then get yourself a lawyer. I’ll warn you, though, this is common up there & the success rate is low.” Peter replied, “With two witnesses who will have matching statements?” The officer replied, “Good point & good luck.”
Peter sought out the best lawyer in town. He was expensive but he was the best….& vicious. His name was Stephen Huddle & was a renound Prosecutor. He got Peter & Greg to make formal written statements at the police station & he would file relevant papers to proceed with a case against the driver. He warned Stephen & Greg that it would be several months before they got to court.
During these months they had a few meetings with Huddle. Huddle said that their case was getting stronger & stronger. Not only did their independent statements match but forensics calculated the braking distance which also indicated the speed of the van which was 70kph. He had also found out that the driver had several complaints against him, all of which were dismissed but in this case there wasn’t forensic evidence and there were 2 witnesses.
When they went to court, Peter & Greg were confident, largely due to Huddles information & confidence.
The Defence lawyer didn’t stand a chance. Huddle went for the throat, armed with the truth. The Defence was further hampered when the driver said he had limited visibility. Huddle stood up & said, “Forensic evidence says that you had clear visibility of 220 metres. That’s ample time to gauge pulling out for a driver of your experience.” The judge scribbled down some notes.
The judge left the room for a mere 2 minutes then returned. He began by saying that although the truck driver had no convictions he had appeared in his court numerous times but walked free due to lack of witnesses. On this occasion, however, there were two credible witnesses with identical independent statements against him, combined with the fact that he lied under oath about having no clear view that the judge had no choice but to suspend his licence for as long as the law permitted, which was 6 months.
Peter & Greg were awarded $6,000 each by the Victims Of Crime. Peter gave Greg his $6,000 so that Greg could trade his old van in & buy a ‘proper’ van to go camping in.