Menace off the roads for Christmas

IT IS good to know that a drunk-driver with as little regard for the rules of the road as Jonathan Day will not be causing problems for motorists over the Christmas period.

IT IS good to know that a drunk-driver with as little regard for the rules of the road as Jonathan Day will not be causing problems for motorists over the Christmas period.

This roads menace has been sent to jail for six months, although in effect he will be out on parole - probably with a tag - early in the new year.

But at least he won't be sharing the turkey and all the trimmings at home. He won't be able to get behind the wheel of a car after celebrating down the pub.

Day is one of those hard-core drink drivers who simply do not care about the consequences of their action.

Driving bans don't work because he simply does not obey them.

In November he was caught driving while disqualified. Little more than a month later he was caught behind the wheel again - this time over the drink-drive limit.

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Now Day will be spending Christmas inside. When he does come out he will again face a lengthy driving ban.

Every responsible driver will be hoping that the police will be watching him like a hawk - ensuring that the menace to the roads remains out of the driver's seat for the entire length of his three-year ban.

AS more details emerge about the Suffolk Mental Health Trust's involvement in cases which have ultimately led to suicides of vulnerable patients, it is vital that coroner Dr Peter Dean asks tough questions about these cases.

He has stressed he did not think the Trust was negligent in its treatment of Sheila Hammond who killed herself two days after being taken home.

However there was clearly great confusion about the meeting at which her release was discussed - a confusion which should not happen when matters of life and death are being discussed.

The Mental Health Trust does not have the financial problems faced by other parts of the health service in Suffolk and really cannot claim money is a key constraint in their ability to provide services.

There has to be an open inquiry into the circumstances which led to the release of Mrs Hammond and her subsequent tragic death.

The people of Suffolk deserve to know exactly how the system failed in her case.

The coroner now says he is satisfied with the response from the Mental Health Trust - but for many others there are still urgent questions which need answering.

And those questions have to be answered if the confidence of the public in mental health services is to be maintained.

SUFFOLK County Council's chief executive Mike More could not have chosen a better time - for himself - to move on to one of the most prestigious jobs in local government as head of Westminster City Council.

Mr More has proved an able and high-profile head of the county during a time of great change, with the administration switching from Labour/LibDem to Tory in 2005 and then the fight over unitary status over the last year.

Now that fight has been lost the county will shrink by about 20 per cent and it is not unnatural that the man at the top should not want to stay in charge of a smaller organisation.

Of course his departure will mean the council will be looking for a new chief executive just as it has to reform itself as a smaller body - but that could be better implemented by someone with no baggage from the battles of 2007.

Suffolk will be wishing Mr More every success in his new role - and looking forward to a new era with a new head.

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