Autonomy - Epilogue
By Parson Thru
In the weeks that followed the death of John Chine, several notable events occurred. A pessimist or paranoiac might conclude that these were related.
A post mortem examination found that a contraindicated drug may have contributed to the cerebral haemorrhage suffered by John Chine. Specifically, the drug was identified with heightened blood pressure and was an anticoagulant. No charge of negligence was brought against clinical staff, though the contraindication has been circulated within the Trust and in professional journals. It wasn’t possible to establish whether the drug was the determining cause of the haemorrhage. The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Detective Inspector Steve Farmer submitted a file for consideration by the public prosecutor for a charge of murder or lesser charge of manslaughter to be brought against a person or persons unknown. He presented his case, including the information passed by the whistle-blower, to his superiors. They refused to support the submission, on the basis of insufficient evidence, and it was withdrawn. DI Farmer was assigned a new case.
A technical assessment of the vehicle determined that a malfunction had occurred within the autonomous control firmware, resulting in loss of control. A report was passed to the manufacturer, including recommendations and a remedial action plan. However, it was considered that the driver/operator should have had sufficient warning to switch to manual control and prevent the collision. Jason McMahon’s mobile phone was found to have been in use at the time of the accident. He was prosecuted for Driving Without Due Care and Attention. A charge of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving was considered but never brought.
The email sent to DI Farmer containing links to confidential files posted on the Internet was traced to a contractor working for the Vehicle Safety Group. His contract was cancelled and security clearance revoked.
John Chine was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium. The non-religious ceremony was attended by his mother, and Jason McMahon, PC Ginelli and DI Farmer. His journalistic output is still carried on some digital news channels under a pseudonym.
* All of the characters in this story are fictional. The story is not based on actual events, only on the possibility that they could occur.
1 July 2018