Forgetting your beacon is manslaughter in Europe….if you wife dies in an Avalanche

Verdict confuses everyone

In what many are calling a crazy decision, a man has been found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to three months of prison, suspended for allowing his wife to ski without an avalanche beacon.

Both were experienced skiers, he more than her. He triggered a slab avalanche which buried he.

The slide occurred on a 35° slope the risk was given as Considerable (3/5). The lack of beacon seriously delayed finding the victim even when rescue services arrived on the scene. The 58 year old woman had suffered from serious head injuries after being buried over a meter in dense snow.


Because the woman was not wearing a beacon the rescue took a considerable amount of time.
The deicison has left many people very confused in Austria. 

Michael Larcher, director of education of the Austrian Alpine Association has questioned the verdict. He points out that although the woman was less experienced than her husband they had been touring together for years, “she was no beginner but had enough personal knowledge to know to turn on her beacon. Given that the lack of beacon was the main reason for the verdict, in my opinion, you cannot put all the responsibility on the husband, it is an issue of personal responsibility”

Estolf Müller, representing the Austrian Mountain Rescue Service said that “judging who is experienced is legally very difficult, I’m really sceptical when the courts intervene in a private sport so long as innocent bystanders are not endangered. When you go into the backcountry everyone has to be responsible for themselves.”

So?

The man in this case may also be facing a civil suit by the family on top of losing his wife. Personally, I think this is a little extreme. However it points out the differences between the United States and Europe.

Most European countries are based on a criminal system to enforce the standards of care. If you do not take care of someone you face jail time.

In the US we rely on a civil litigation system. If you do not take care of someone you face a lawsuit. Only in extreme cases where your actions are so bad or intentional can you face losing your freedom in the US. I show it visually this way.

The Red Column is the amount of proof needed to convict in a Criminal Case. The Blue Column is the amount of proof needed to win a civil case.

clip_image002

The US is based on a system that personal freedom is important and society, not the government should decide when someone has injured another. In Europe, the government is in charge of deciding the wrongs and rights of all of society.

For articles about this see Another Litigation versus Criminal example and Litigation v. Jail Time.
To see the article go to 3 months suspended sentence for forgetting beacon

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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