Crimes and accidents


For a long time, it has seemed to me that we confuse crimes and accidents.

This is such a substantial issue that more posts might flow from this, depending on the level of interest. Also, I should point out that I am no lawyer, so this is a personal, not a professional, view.

In both directions

When crimes are treated as accidents, criminal behaviour is appeased and no deterrent effect generated. Attempts to learn lessons are likely to be fruitless. So behaviour does not change and the crimes continue.

When accidents are treated as crimes, blame is allocated inappropriately and lessons are not learned. Innocent participants are punished for no purpose. So behaviour does not change and the accidents continue.


There are issues of causation, intent, blame and so on.

There are so many examples of this, that I am not sure where to begin. So, I won’t  … yet!

What do you think?

By John Lewis

2 thoughts on “Crimes and accidents

  1. The law has long distinguished between “manslaughter” (“meurtre” in French) and murder (“assassinat” in French).


    1. Thanks Patrice. That is an important and significant distinction which is in the right general direction. However, as I will attempt to argue in future posts, we need to go much further.


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