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Motor Vehicles as Weapons of Offence

NCJ Number
Criminal Law Review Dated: (January 1985) Pages: 29-41
J R Spencer
Date Published
12 pages
A perusal of British newspapers, law reports, and cycling club data show that incidents in which a motorist turns a vehicle against a pedestrian or cyclist, using it as a weapon of offense, are surprisingly common.
Many such incidents resulted in serious injury or death. Under the law, these incidents, depending on intent and the degree of injury, should be prosecuted as murder or attempted murder, manslaughter, malicious wounding, or common assault, with sentences ranging from mandatory life imprisonment to 2 to 12 months imprisonment. Yet, such incidents are treated with remarkable leniency: in both murder cases and those involving lesser injuries, the defendant is usually undercharged, and sentences tend to be remarkably light. Factors contributing to this situation are discussed; it is recommended that when a motor vehicle is used as a weapon, sanctions should be appropriate to the offense. 74 notes.


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