[lit-ideas] Re: Heard on local news...

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2005 10:10:30 +0100 (BST)

> "Authorities say this accident was intentional."

Is this really absurd/funny? Or just the kind of thing people find funny in
order to show they have a tertiary education? I mean, it's clear what it
means - which is more than can be said for some academic writing. 

Why can't you have 'An Intentional Accident'? In fact, wouldn't it be a good
title for a best-seller - people would be intrigued rather than piss
themselves at its ridiculousness?

There is a section in an English statute governing the awarding of
compensation orders in criminal cases that bears on this. The section says
the court cannot make such an order where the damage results from "an
accident" involving an insured motor vehicle. Say your client, as has
happened, takes a car that he does not own but is insured to drive and
deliberately drives it into railings causing about £16,000 damage to the car
and £1,500 to the railings. When he pleads guilty to criminal damage can the
court make an order he pay for the damage - after all, since he did it
deliberately he surely cannot claim what he did was an "accident"?

But of course he can. His cunning linguist lawyer argues that this section
only applies once a person is found or pleads guilty to a criminal offence.
In this context "accident" cannot imply 'no one at fault', since where no one
is at fault there is no crime. So "accident" is here used in the sense of
'incident'. And this was an 'incident', even if a deliberately engineered
one, where the damage resulted from the operation of an insured motor

The local news were surely using "accident" in the sense of 'incident' or
'event' and not in the sense of "accident" where it means an incident or
event where damage resulted but no one was at fault. I raise my hats to them
for their cunninglinguistic perspicacity.

Bored of English humour based on supposed solecisms, how very unfunny,
half-educated and small-minded it shows them to be
Fan of "Irishisms"


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