Mockery of the law..

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Bells, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. Bells Staff Member

    Some would say that I've seen and heard a lot in legal circles. And sadly I have. We have all heard of the ridiculous and stupid lawsuits that some individuals try to bring. We have all laughed about it, we have all shaken our heads with dismay and very often, disgust. I can say with certainty that it is rare that something will surprise me. Sadly, today is that day.

    Firstly, some background..

    On the 28th of October, 2012, 17 year old Brandon Majewski was riding his bike down a road in the town of Innisfil, Ontario, along with two of his friends, Richard McLean, 16 and Jake Roberts, also 16 years old. It was 1am and they were riding home after grabbing a bite to eat. Nothing unusual there. They had normal reflectors on the backs of their bikes (one witness who happened on the scene and who applied first aid reported seeing the reflectors on the road), however they were not wearing bike helmets but were wearing dark clothing. Again, nothing unusual there.

    Sharlene Simon was driving an SUV down the same road, with her husband, Jules Simon, a York Regional Police officer, following in a car behind her.

    Sharlene apparently did not see the 3 bike riders and struck them from behind. She was driving at 90kph on the 80kph stretch of road, a fact she admitted to investigators. Brandon Majewski died 2 hours later of his injuries and Richard McLean suffered multiple broken bones, including a broken pelvis and internal injuries while Jake Roberts suffered minor injuries.

    Alcohol was apparently not suspected and soon after the police arrived at the scene of the accident, Sharlene, along with her husband were allowed to proceed on home. The same could not be said for the drivers who happened on the scene immediately after the accident.

    Witnesses who happened upon the crash immediately after it happened and who rendered first aid to the boys and had desperately tried to save Brandon speak of the horror of that night, and of having to remain at the scene until 5:30am while police conducted their investigations. They were surprised that the driver who struck them were allowed to leave the scene soon after police arrived. Since alcohol was not suspected, one could presume that no blood test was done on Mrs Simon after the crash. One witness who had started first aid on Brandon recalled how Jules Simon, the husband of the driver, had rushed to her appearing panicked and asked the name of the road as he was calling for help and she recalled that she never saw him again, as he left.

    She says she recalls the driver’s “husband” suddenly appeared frantic at the side of the road and asked her their location so he could call police. She told him and he walked back to his wife’s vehicle.

    “Then he was gone,” Lachance said. “I never saw him again.”

    Melanie Lachance is still haunted by that night, but she is also puzzled as to how Sharlene Simon and her police officer husband were allowed to leave the scene while she was made to stay there by the police for hours as they conducted their investigations.

    Sharlene was not charged for the accident or the injury or deaths. The investigations concluded that lack of visibility on the dark night meant that this was a tragic accident.

    Now here is where this story gets uglier.

    A WOMAN who hit three teenage boys on bikes while driving, killing one and injuring the other two, is suing the dead teen for the emotional trauma she suffered.

    Mother-of-three Sharlene Simon, 42, is also suing the other two boys and the dead boy’s family for $AU1.3 million in damages due to her psychological suffering, including depression, anxiety, irritability and post-traumatic stress.


    In a statement of claim filed in a Canadian court, Ms Simon blames the boys for negligence, the Toronto Sun reports.

    “They did not apply their brakes properly,” the claim states. “They were incompetent bicyclists.”

    Ms Simon is also suing the County of Simcoe for failing to maintain the road.

    The claim also states that 'her enjoyment of life has been and will be lessened'..

    And it gets worse.. The family's lawyers are also confused and surprised by what they are trying to claim in the law suit. The victim's family woes and horror do not end with Sharlene Simon..

    Even more confusing Cameron said, is the fact that the woman’s husband, Jules Simon, a York Regional Police officer, is also suing for $100,000 for damages and expenses incurred because of his wife’s suffering.

    According to the police report and court documents, Jules Simon was following his wife in another vehicle the night of tragedy. But Cameron doesn’t know why he was following her, or where they were coming from.

    The family of the boys are understandably horrified and angry by this turn of events. They are now countersuing her for $900,000 for speeding and possibly being intoxicated or talking on her phone when she hit the three boys on their bikes.

    The law should never be used to enrich or to profit from crime. While Sharlene Simon was never charged for the accident, to attempt to sue the estate of the deceased boy and his friends she injured, one terribly injured, reeks of trying to benefit from this horrendous accident. For her husband to also sue is deplorable in my opinion.

    Many questions remain as to how or why they were both allowed to leave the scene of the accident while witnesses who had given first aid were made to stay for hours, just as questions remain about how or why her police officer husband was following her in his car that night or what she was doing just before she hit them with her car. Questions also remain about whether she was intoxicated since no tests were done as the police advised they did not suspect alcohol was a factor.. but what about drugs? No blood tests? No breath test? Instead she gets to go home so quickly without even being questioned?

    Comments in some of the articles linked blame the police for this.. the 'blue wall'.. because she was treated differently at the scene of the accident. One can only assume that is because her husband is a police officer. Since she and her husband have tried to sue the victims family, petitions have sprung up requesting she be properly investigated. And with due cause.. Whether the 'blue wall' factored in on this case or not remains unknown, but I can't deny that it smells bad.

    It's cases like this one that turns the law into the mockery it has become. While the need for reform remains high, as long as cases such as this one continues to clog the legal system, and as long as people see the courts as a sort of lottery system, I don't see much being done to fix what desperately needs to be broken.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
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  3. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Well done, Bells.
    The next step is to stop trying to figure out how much of it is due to rich people versus poor people.
    remember we had an... "argument", about this?

    The only thing which allows mockery of the law is an acceptance of those who would mock it.
    As long as you continue to accept it from some and not others, this scenario will persist.
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  5. Bells Staff Member

    Let's face it, we have an argument about many things.

    This isn't a rich vs poor issue. This is an issue of people using the legal system as though it's a lottery. I mean really, suing the estate of a kid you ran over and killed with your SUV because it's lessened your enjoyment of life?

    People are inherently selfish, but this? This?

    Frankly, the lawyers who agree to take on cases such as for Sharlene should be stripped of their qualifications.

    It's gone too far. Crap like this should not be allowed.
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  7. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member


    As long as you don't allow it from anyone, and stop cherry picking your cases.

    "This" is the result of people being permitted to gain personally from lawsuits.

    Ask yourself. If the proceeds from these lawsuits were to go to the state, rather than the individual, how many would there be?
    We could probably build seven hospitals in a year from the legal costs saved defending against someones... mental anguish.
  8. Bells Staff Member

    Do you actually think this is a legitimate case?

    Say compared to someone who is injured for life, requiring constant medical care because of the other's negligence? If this could compare, it would be tantamount to the person who was negligent suing the victim because they were traumatised by what they did to them.

    You cannot compare this case to others.

    It's akin to my chopping off your legs with my car and then suing you because my chopping off your legs made me suffer psychologically.
  9. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Indeed, I am aghast that this has even been allowed into a court and not immediately dismissed... the driver has suffered psychological trauma?!? How about the two friends who watched their third friend DIE!? How about the mother that is now missing her child?

    Seriously, we are in some kinda fubar state with the law...
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I don't condone the woman's actions, but there are some facts omitted from the report in the OP.
    First, this is a counter-suit, and is presumably to negate the $900k suit that the victim's family raised against her.
    Second, she was not(or at least has not been) charged with anything, and an investigation in to the accident did rule that there was nothing she could have done to prevent it.
    Third, the cyclists were not wearing the right protective gear nor did they have the required lighting on their bikes.

    That said, she did admit to speeding, and the lax investigation at the scene (was she breathalysed?) is suspect.

    But if she is genuinely innocent of nothing more than a tragic accident, and faced with a heavy lawsuit for something that was not her fault, to counter-sue as she has done seems more understandable, if still disturbing and shocking on the face of it.

    Further, I think it is well understood that the victim has no estate worth anything, so there would be no benefit to suing the person for monetary gain, which is why I suspect it is merely to head off the original lawsuit by the family of the victim.
    Neither side has an argument proven in court, and I suspect that neither will ever get to court.

    It does smack of very poor taste on the woman's side, and as said I don't condone her actions, but I'd be careful about making snap judgements based on what appears to be somewhat sensationalist reporting of events.

    This is an awful tragedy, but until/unless all the facts are known, it may not be appropriate to be too harsh.
  11. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Her husband is a cop. In my experience, that renders a great deal of social immunity. Whether it will translate into legal immunity is another question.
  12. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Sarkus, I am confused - how did the bikes not have the "required lighting"? They had the standard reflectors that come mounted... AFAIK that is all that is "required" by law? Obviously some proper lights would be better, but then again so would proper bike lanes.

    I dunno... this whole thing is just FUBAR...
  13. quinnsong Valued Senior Member

    In my view the lawsuit should target the police department(blue wall) for the willful neglect in doing a proper investigation. Isn't this a case of obstruction of justice?
  14. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    If its anything like the laws in Australia if your riding at night your required under the Traffic Act to have lighting front and back. Failing to have lighting is a pretty good way of causing a crash, just the same as driving around without lights would be and carries the same charges.
  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I'm not an expert on what the law is in Ontario, nor do I know the specifics of the case as to whether the necessary or adequate reflectors were or were not used. That would be for a court to determine, I guess. And any investigation into the accident (that was carried out and seems to have deemed it unavoidable).
    Certainly in the UK the law requires a front white light and a red rear light.

    But my point is that unless we know for sure the facts of the case we should not act as judge, jury and executioner.
    It remains a tragic accident, and I would hope some appropriate justice would be served. But that might be rather difficult if the police have been negligent in their investigation, or if indeed it was just a tragic accident with no specific blame on either party.
  16. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    And if it was just that, an accident, then that's fine... nobody needs to sue anyone for anything.

    My question, though, is how do you miss them? Even assuming all they had were the stock reflectors installed on virtually every bicycle sold worldwide... with good functioning headlights you should be able to see someone riding a bike, much less three of them side by side!
  17. billvon Valued Senior Member

    If these kids had been riding motorcycles and had run into - and killed - a woman and her children in an SUV who:

    1) were not using the right protective gear (seatbelts)
    2) did not have required lighting on their vehicle (had a burned out taillight)

    and then left the scene after the first cop showed up, I have no doubt that those kids would now be sitting in jail. Bikes are assumed to be in the wrong in 90% of fatal injury cases, at least in the US (and apparently in Canada.) Drivers who kill them walk away.
  18. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

    "Perverse" comes to mind. But, then again, that word often surfaces when I contemplate the vagaries of the legal system...
  19. Bells Staff Member

    1) The news story made it appear as though the Shannon's family filed a counter suit against her, and her response was to file against them and the other two boys who survived.
    2) I stated she had not been charged with anything, even though she admitted to speeding and I also stated that they ruled it was just an accident.
    3) I also stated that the cyclists were not wearing helmets (although, I don't think helmets would have saved them in this case as one suffered severe internal injuries and Shannon died after suffering the brunt of the impact with her SUV) and that they were wearing dark clothing and their bikes had the standard reflectors, which she claimed she did not see..

    So those facts were not omitted in the OP.

    From my understanding, it does not appear as though she was breathalysed because the police saw no reason to.

    I think what is more suspect is that she was allowed to leave so quickly while those who had happened on the scene were made to stay there for hours while the police conducted their investigations.

    No, to counter suit is not understandable. Her actions still caused the loss of life of one child, which caused his brother to be so depressed that he took drugs and alcohol and died in his sleep a few months later, and severe injuries to another child which required a long stay in hospital for surgeries, and recovery and imagine the other one who was only knocked off his bike and had to witness his friend dying while the other lay there so badly injured. To sue because her life is now less enjoyable? And her husband's lawsuit? Who is she kidding?

    That depends. Did they have insurance? Did they have savings for college, any items that could be sold.

    Poor taste does not cover it. And her husband's lawsuit..

    This case has the whiff of blue wall behind it, not being breathalysed at the scene, being allowed to go home so soon after.. That is what I do not understand. If she was given a blood test, it would have been much later. Not breathalysing her at the scene immediately after the accident makes no sense. If she was drunk or had alcohol in her system, allowing her to immediately go home would mean that she would have time to allow whatever was in her system to leave her system. The family queried why her husband was following her in another car, as he claimed he was but apparently could not remember why he was.

    When they requested an investigation in the manner in which the police handled the investigation, the police station which had handled the accident investigation, investigated itself... Claiming that the Shannon's parents were reacting on rumours when they filed a complaint about how the accident investigation was handled, they then went on and supposedly investigated themselves and filed a report and response absolving themselves of any wrongdoing and denying the family's claim that the driver's husband knew one of the officers who was in charge of the accident investigation..
  20. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    Bells if the kids were driving around in a dark car with no lights on and the person crashed into them would you sympathize with them or the driver who hit them? There is a reason lights are not optional but rather required. Now sure she shouldn't have been speeding either but which was the bigger factor in the crash, the fact they had no lights or the fact she was 10 Km over? Guess the courts will get to decide

    who did the coroner find to be majority at fault?
  21. Bells Staff Member

    No coroner from what I understand. The police determined it was an accident and then investigated themselves when it came to light that she and her policeman husband were allowed to leave the scene immediately and that he may or may not have known the officer in charge of the accident investigation. And from memory, you have lights at the front of your bike, not the back and she hit them from behind because she could not see the standard reflectors they had on the backs of their bikes.
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Them. If they had been pedestrians they'd be just as dead - and there are no laws requiring pedestrians to wear lights.

    If you cannot control your car well enough to see and avoid a slow-moving object you are driving recklessly, and if you injure or kill someone due to your own recklessness then you should go to jail.

    Yes - because cities and states want to avoid issues like this. Doesn't always work.
  23. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    You have to have a red tail light AND a white, solid head light. I am unsure if the rear light can flash, must flash or is solid (most cyclists have it flashing but that doesn't mean that's what is demanded by the traffic act) but do know the white head light MUST not flash.

    Found one source

    Just because they are a cyclist doesn't mean they are exempt from the law and just because one died doesn't exempt them from a having to pay if they are judged to be at fault.

    Edit to add:
    80km/h is 22.22m/s which means assuming the reflector worked as required (50m when hit with a low beam) she would have had only a 2 second window where the reflector would have been visible if stopped. In that time she would have had to notice the bikes, and react. So if they were moving in the same direction at say 15 km\h that might have given her an extra second. That's best case of course, if the road bent so the head lights didn't hit dead on or they weren't fitted properly or damaged or even dusty that could have reduced it even further

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