S.C.I.D.

Scotland’s Campaign against Irresponsible Drivers - Supporting Victims of Road Crashes

Driving Charges and Court Judgments

Causing death by dangerous driving

Date

Brief Outline

Court

Outcome in Court

Sentence

13/11/2013

Darren Luke, aged 30, drove on the wrong side of the road at 70 mph in a 40 mph zone crashing into a car and van, killing his friend and passenger Billy Casement also aged 30, a father and husband.  Also injured was Frank Ballantyne, aged 48.

Lord Brodie said, “Your dangerous driving has had the effect of taking away one life but has also caused inestimable damage to the lives of other people.”

Pled not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

Found guilty. 

3-year custodial sentence.  Luke, who has a previous conviction for speeding ten years ago was also banned from driving for five years.

28/11/2013

Erland Flaws, aged 26, crashed into a vehicle being driven by 65-year-old Moira Towers killing her and her passenger Anne Stanger, aged 64.  Flaws drove at excessive speed at night towards a blind summit and a junction which presented hazards obvious to anyone who knew the road as he did.

Judge John Beckett

Livingstone High Court

“There is no sentence that I can pass which can have any impact on the loss and grief felt by two families and the community in which Mrs Towers and Mrs Stanger lived.”

Pled not guilty to causing the deaths by dangerous driving.

Found guilty.

Flaws, of Wyre, Orkney, admitted colliding with the car but claimed he was not driving dangerously.

 

5-year custodial sentence. Disqualified from driving for 5 years and resit test.

Previous convictions: 2007 convicted of using a vehicle without insurance and committed an offence relating to its condition for which his licence was endorsed with penalty points.  In 2008, drove whilst using a mobile phone and again licence was endorsed.  in 2009, disqualified for drink driving and careless driving.

18/10/2013

Andrew Carney, aged 24, drove at 70 mph in a 30 mph zone on a wet road on Aberdeen’s Beach Esplanade when he crashed into the car being driven by 47-year-old Jacqueline Lyon, killing her.

High Court in Glasgow

Lord Turnbull

A witness pulled over to call police after he overtook her at high speed in streaming rain moments before the fatal crash. 

Pled guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and driving without a licence.

7 years and 2 months custodial sentence.  Banned from driving for 10 years.

30/07/1013

VOSA inquiry following causing death by careless driving

George Davidson, aged 57, a haulier from Fraserburgh, was responsible for a crash on the M6 which left a man dead.  He was found to have falsified tachograph records.  It was the second such offence for Davidson who was fined 600 after a court found he had disconnected the device before a 1996 crash. 

Carlisle Crown Court.

Commissioner Ms Aitken.

During a public inquiry, it was revealed that Davidson had 69 instances where the tacograph had been falsified.  Breaching driver’s hours, failing to take legal breaks, daily and weekly rest offences and excess driving time.  His vehicle was fitted with a device that allowed the tacograph record to be interrupted.

Davidson denied knowing about this device but did admit to using a magnet to interrupt the tachograph.  In evidence to the Commissioner, Davidson said he had done so because he was delivering fresh produce.  He also claimed that he was sorry for using the device and was a “good, courteous driver”.

Handing Davidson the lifetime ban, Ms Aitken said his willingness to falsify his records had shown he was a person who was capable of “deceit and untruthfulness”.  She rejected his claims about his driving standards.  “He has such a deluded opinion of himself which makes him a risk.  Given that a previous long disqualification did not cure him, the period of disqualification has to be for life.  He has lost his professional competence and repute.”

20/09/2013

The Court of Criminal Appeal

Prosecutors asked appeal court judges to jail Gary McCourt, aged 49, whose careless driving caused the death of cyclist, Audrey Fyfe, aged 75.  At the trial, Sheriff Scott said the pensioner “contributed” to her death by not wearing a safety helmet.  He also said he felt unable to impose a jail sentence on McCourt because there wee no aggravating factors like drink and drug abuse present in the offence.  Sheriff Scott said the collision happened because McCourt “momentarily” lost concentration. 

Appeal court judge: Lord Menzies, Lord Glennie and Lady Dorian

Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC urged a new less lenient sentence be imposed on McCourt.  Ms Thomson called Sheriff Scott’s sentence “unduly lenient” and he should received a minimum of eight months in prison.

Lesley Thomson QC argued Sheriff Scott erred in attaching undue weight to the evidence that the deceased was not wearing a cycle helmet at the time of the collision.  There was no medical evidence, medical or otherwise that the absence of a cycle helmet contributed to the death as this was a highly controversial area in relation to scientific research.  Herbert Kerrigan QC told the judges the sheriff acted correctly in law and that there was no need to change his client’s sentence.

McCourt had been sentenced to 300 hours community service and banned from driving for five years by Sheriff James Scott after being convicted of driving without due care and attention. 

McCourt was jailed for  two years in 1986 after being found guilty of another cyclist’s death by reckless driving.  George Dalgity, 22, was killed after he cycled along Regent Street in Edinburgh on 18 October 1985.

 Appeal denied

20/09/2013

The Court of Criminal Appeal

Adam Morrison, aged 32, an articulated lorry driver had been convicted of causing the death by careless driving of Bettina Adams, aged 44, and had been sentenced to 18 months custody.  At the trial the prosecutor, Alasdair Fay, had made references to the feelings of the dead woman’s husband in his speech to the jury.

The appeal was granted on the basis that the prosecutor acted in “grossly inappropriate manner” by including in his summing up speech: “How would you feel, ladies and gentlemen, if you were (the deceased’s husband)? He’s been sat quietly through much of this trial.  He should be looking ahead to Christmas with his wife ...right now.  Maybe if you try and put yourself in his shoes, maybe you’ll conclude that if you had been Mr Morrison what you would have done is turn left (and travel to the next roundabout with a view to using it to get access to the southbound carriageway).”

Appeal court judge Lord Brodie said the comments were “plainly irrelevant” to deciding whether Mr Morrison was at fault.  The procurator fiscal depute was acting in a grossly improper manner which required emphatic action by the Sheriff”.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC accepted that a reference by the fiscal in his speech to the jury to the feelings and sentiments of the dead woman’s husband had been improper. 

Lord Brodie concluded that Mr Morrison’s conviction should be seen as a miscarriage of justice.

Conviction quashed

22/01/2014

The Criminal Court of Appeal

Paul Stewart, aged 22, overtook a car on a blind bend and hit a van driven by 52-year-old Robert McPike who later died in hospital.

Lord Bracadale and Lord Kingarth at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh.

The judges ruled: in February 2012, sentencing judge Norman Ritchie QC, was in error in applying sentencing guidelines by placing too much weight on aggravating factors and insufficient on mitigating features. 

Appeal judges ruled this was too harsh and cut custodial sentence from 6 to 4 years.

Causing death by careless driving

Date

Brief Outline

Court

Outcome in Court

Sentence

05/06/2013

Robbie McDonald, a 23-year-old cyclist was killed on 12 December 2011 by Andrew Donlon, an uninsured driver, who was out on bail and who left the scene with lending any assistance. 

When police arrived at the scene of the crash, Donlon did not tell officers he was driving the car involved and seemed “plausible” before he was allowed to travel on his way.  Donlon was later traced and questioned by officers under caution at his home.

 Glasgow Sheriff Court

Sheriff McKenzie

Charged with causing Mr McDonald’s death whilst driving uninsured and leaving the scene.

Andrew Donlon pled quilty to the first charge but not guilty to the second.

He admitted to driving the car that struck the cyclist, while blue paint from his Vauxhall Vectra matched that discovered on Mr McDonald’s clothing.

12 months custodial sentence.             3 years and 9 months ban with an order to   resit driving test. 

Donlon was out on bail pending a driving offence and had previous driving convictions.

29/08/2013

Steven Conlan, aged 51, killed cyclist Grahame McGregor, aged 55, when he didn’t stop at a stop sign and illegally drove through a junction because his satnav system had not registered the junction.

 

District Judge Roger Elsey said the accident would not have happened without satnav in the car and said Conlan should have paid more attention to the road.  He said, “I don’t believe the accident woudl have occurred if the satnav had been switched off.”

Judge Elsey told Conlan, “Mr McGregor was a healthy young man in the prime of his life and his death is a devastating blow, a devastating loss to the family and friends that love him.

 

Conlan will complete 240 hours of unpaid work, pay a 60 surcharge  ad 85 court costs and will be banned from driving for 2 years.

03/09/2013

Victoria McClure, aged 38, spent around 20 seconds fiddling with her sat nav’s zoom function when she hit and killed father-of-two Anthony Hilson.  When she reaslised what had happened in the crash on the A4 Bath Road near Reading in Berkshire she ran to try and hep Mr Hilson, with witnesses reporting she was in shock and crying.

Judge Nicholas Wood - Reading Crown Court

Judge Wood said in sentencing that she should have seen the cyclist.

“This case is a tragic loss of life and shows the potential dangers of looking at a sat nav while driving, even at an average speed.”

Judge Wood added: “Your mitigation reduces the sentence below the sentencing range but it cannot enable me to suspend the sentence.  Your driving created a serious risk of danger.

“You drive while avoidably distracted by a sat nav and failed to have a proper regard to a cyclist - a vulnerable road user.”

McClure admitted causing death by careless driving and denied the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving -  but was convicted by a jury.

Victoria McClure has been jailed for 18 months for causing death by dangerous driving.  She was banned was 2.5 years and has to resit test.

Driver in possession of drugs

Date

Brief Outline

Court

Outcome in Court

Sentence

12/08/2013

Driver Raymond Buick, aged 40, was topped by the police wen they noticed his vehicle had a space saver wheel on and decided to pull him over for a routine inspection.  There was a strong smell of alcohol from Buick and he provided a positive roadside breath test. When the police were speaking to the accused, he appeared to drop his wallet and a quantity of cocaine dropped out of his wallet.

Perth Sheriff Court.

Fiscal depute Rebecca Kynaston.

Buick admitted having cocaine and admitted driving a Volkswagon Golf while he was unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

Banned from driving for 12 months and fined 765.

23/07/2013

Charles McLachlan, aged 53, confessed to taking drugs before running a red light and knocking down and injuring the 11-year-old boy on a pedestrian crossing. McLachlan was found with tablets and white powder in his car, did not even know he was in Fife at the time of the accident which left the child injured.  Consultant psychiatrist said, “There was an allegation he may have sustained a head injury some 48 hours earlier.  His shopkeeper in the two days previously had found him odd and bizarre and behaving strangely.

Perth Sheriff Court.

The Crown evidence was agreed in full.

Consultant psychiatrist: “It would be my opinion that he would have been insane at the time of the offence.  He ha a complete inability to recall events which had happened a short time before.”

She said it was possible to fake the condition McLachlan displayed but said it would be extremely hard for someone with no psychiatric history to mimic the confusion he showed. 

The joint minute also detailed how McLachlan, of Glasgow, had two tablets and a bag of white powder with him in the car when he struck the boy.

A jury formally aquitted McLachlan after hearing evidence that he had no idea what he was doing because he was insane due to a head injury he received a few days before the accident.

14/03/2014    A motorist banned for five years for being drunk on the motorway got his licence back early so he can travel to his job at whisky distilleries.

Ian Brewster was banned in 2010 after he was caught driving on a busy motorway while he was nearly four times over the legal alcohol limit.  Brewster already had a previous conviction for drink driving in 1997 but on Tuesday he was given the chance to have his driving licence restored after just 41 months.

Perth Sheriff out was told that Brewster worked in a job where he had to travel to whisky production centres across Scotland to work o their sites.

Solicitor Alastair McLeod said, “The difficulty is that he would previously have got a lift from a colleague, but that colleague has now retired.

Speeding

Date

Brief Outline

Court

Outcome in Court

Sentence

20/10/2013

Lawyer who defends drivers facing speed charges brags about doing 105 mph on motorway.

Graeme Cunninghame, aged 49, ex-police officer and now KILMARNOCK solicitor, used his Facebook page to tell friends how police ordered him to slow down in his Mercedes on the M6 but he was not charged.  Cunninghame’s Facebook pals, two solicitors, said, “Are you going to lose your licence?” and the other, “Very lucky Graeme C”.  One advocate replied, “Bit slow for you mate?”

No Charge!!!!

 

 

08/10/2013

Benjamin Mailer, aged 32, was caught speeding at 118 mph.

Sheriff Richard McFarlane.

Perth Sheriff Court.

The submission from his lawyer that he should be allowed to keep his licence because he risked losing his job at the Four Seasons Hotel in St Fillans was rejected.

Pled guilty to speeding.

Fined 200 and banned from driving for 11 weeks.

08/08/2013

Graham Davies, aged 46, a council gardener caught driving his motorbike at 104 mph has been allowed to keep his licence so he can use a sit-on lawnmower.

Justice of the Peace Eve Forrest said, “Under normal circumstances, for a speed of 104 I would be looking at a discretionary disqualification.  However, I will take into account your record and the fact you need your licence for your job.”

Pled guilty to speeding at 104.9 mph o a stretch of the A9.

Fined 440.

5 penalty points on licence.

Davies was not banned from driving after the court heard it would cause him difficulty at work and prevent him from using a sit-on lawnmower to cut grass.