Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Automatism: It's Hard To The Floor

A bus driver told me that if I had any sort of accident that I should plead 'Automatism'.

"What the hell is that?" I asked.

"It works," he said. "Look it up." So I did.

It seems, according to the BBC News website that it is 'essentially a legal defence, arguing that a person cannot be held responsible for their actions because they had no conscious knowledge of them.'

Further investigation showed there were two types of automatism - insane automatism caused by "disease of the mind" and non-insane automatism which was viewed as being due to external factors such as being hit over the head or stung by a wasp. In 2002 there was a test case where rock star Peter Buck from the band REM was acquitted of attacking air crew on a transatlantic flight.

This sounded marvellous. Too good to be true. The next day I quizzed the driver more and asked if he had known any successes.

"Well no," he said. "But we did try it with another driver who had just crashed his vehicle. He was a little slow on the uptake so we teased him. He was well known, allegedly, for having a big dick. So we told him to plea automatism."

"How?" he said.

"It's simple. You were driving along and were distracted by a pretty girl walking down the pavement and let's say that you had a 'romantic dream'. This dream caused your erection to ram down on the accelerator and make the car lurch, causing the crash."

Though he was again slow to comprehend, it proves that bus drivers' quick wit complements Victor Hugo's dictum that 'imagination is intelligence with an erection'.

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