YEP Says (Oct 7): ‘Whitlam’s law’ is a cause worth fighting for

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Any right thinking member of the public must surely have sympathy for the cause of Pamela Whitlam.

Mrs Whitlam’s 11-year-old son Harry was mown down by a tractor driven by a man found to have been over the legal drink-drive limit.

Yet no case was ever brought to court.

Why? Because the incident happened on a private road.


It’s a little-known fact that under the Road Traffic Act 1988, a criminal prosecution can only take place if the accident takes place “on a road or other public place”.

It’s right there in statute. Statute that makes no sense whatsoever when a boy has died and no-one can be held to account.

Surely this can only have compounded the grief of Harry’s poor family who have now called for a change in the law.

An inquest heard that the driver was reversing his tractor and slurry trailer on Swithens Farm in Rothwell on August 9, 2013, when it struck Harry. An investigation revealed that the driver was more than twice the legal drink drive limit.

The family is hoping to create Whitlam’s Law - named for Harry - where there is no distinction between private or public land if someone is found to be in charge of a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol.

“I would much rather see Harry’s name used to save people’s lives, close this legal loophole and change the law, than be used to acquit drivers, leaving them to re-offend,” says Mrs Whitlam.

She is right. For Harry’s sake this is a battle worth fighting. We wish them every success.

A different kind of hen party

Keeping chickens seems to have become all the rage these days, with folk barely batting an eyelid when a coop appears in their neighbour’s back garden.

Now it has another dimension - helping combat loneliness and social isolation. HenPower, a pioneering scheme that brings hens into care homes has come to Leeds for the first time. A study has shown that bringing the birds into residential homes has had a real impact on reducing depression and loneliness.

If it works, all power to their flight feathers.