Poignant pilgrimage in aid of road safety charity
Posted in the Dundee Forum
#1 Sep 4, 2010
A Newtyle couple are to make a poignant pilgrimage between Brechin and Arbroath next month to raise money for charity and highlight a potential consideration for the new double jeopardy law reforms.
Clarke family - roads campaign
Karen and Michael Clarke are making the 28-mile trek from Brechin to Arbroath Abbey and back in memory of Karen's late mother, Kathleen Boyle, who was killed on the road between the two towns six years ago.
As well as raising money for the road safety charity BRAKE, Karen said she and her husband would also be sending out a message to the Scottish Government that new legislation covering double jeopardy where previously people could not be tried for the same offence twice should not just be restricted to cases involving rape and murder.
Karen said her mother died as a result of a road traffic collision in which five other people were also seriously injured in February 2004.
The driver of the vehicle which hit the car was prosecuted but the case against him was found not proven after a lengthy trial at the High Court in Forfar.
The mother of three said, "We are principally doing the walk for BRAKE, the road safety charity, on October 16.
"We will be walking from Brechin to the Arbroath Abbey and back again and hope to raise as much money as we can as this charity helps people in so many ways.
"This is also in the memory of my mum, Kathleen Boyle, who was killed in a car crash next to Little Denmark farm, near Colliston on the outskirts of Arbroath, which is the reason I have chosen to walk that road.
"Brechin to Arbroath and back was the journey she was making but she never made it home."
Karen said that the loss of her mum, who was also "a wife, an auntie, a daughter, a sister, a friend to many, and a well-liked local nurse" still affected her deeply.
"She was such a helpful person and I hope the money we raise will be helpful to BRAKE," she added.
"BRAKE helped me a lot. Their website on its own showed me I was not alone.
"The Forgotten Victims campaign gave me hope that some day the attitude towards road crash victims may change."
Karen said one way to help address the anguish felt by those who lose loved ones in similar circumstances to hers would be to include causing death by dangerous or careless driving in the double jeopardy reforms being drawn up by the Scottish Government.
She has written to justice minister Kenny MacAskill, through the offices of her MSP John Swinney, on the possibility of such cases forming part of the new law.
"As things stands it appears that only rape and murder cases will be covered by the double jeopardy reform," Karen said.
"There are hundreds of people killed on our roads and I think that in Scotland the not proven verdict is often an easy way out for juries."
In a response to Mrs Clarke, Mr MacAskill said, "This is a difficult issue and the approach of including the causing of death by dangerous/reckless/careless driving that Mrs Clarke advocates clearly deserves full consideration.
"I have not reached a settled view on the offences to be covered by the new evidence exception.
"This is something on which I think that there is very real scope for further debate and my intention, if and when double jeopardy legislation is introduced in parliament, is to encourage discussion on the offences to be covered."
Anyone who wants to help the couple raise money can do so at www.justgiving.com/walkforbrake .
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