HMA v Gary McCourt. our response

We at Pedal on Parliament are appalled to hear that the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh today decided not to change the lenient sentence given to Gary McCourt in the Audrey Fyfe case. The driver, Mr McCourt, had previously killed another cyclist, was originally sentenced to 300 hours community service and a 5 year driving ban. PoP along with the many other organisations and individuals (over 6000 wrote directly to the procurator Fiscal) asked that the sentencing to be reconsidered. We felt that the driving ban was especially lenient, given that a driver who has now killed two cyclists could be back on the roads in a few years time. PoP supports the view of Audrey Fyfe’s family that a life time driving ban would have been more appropriate sentence. There is no right to drive, it is a privilege granted under licence, when that privilege is abused it is right that it should be withdrawn.

Unfortunately the court (you can see the judgement here) decided that as the vehicle only lightly struck the cyclist and because the driver only suffered a momentary lapse of concentration, that the lenient sentence was justified. The judges were careful in following the sentencing guidelines to come to this decision. It is therefore apparent that the sentencing guidelines are not fit for purpose and need urgent reviewing to ensure that more vulnerable road users are significantly better protected by the law than they are currently. We therefore call on the justice secretary Kenny MacKaskill to investigate this issue with some urgency.

If you agree with us, we ask you to write to your MSPs and request that they to call on the justice secretary Kenny MacKaskill to investigate this issue with some urgency.

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