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Appeal against the sentence of a motorist convicted of killing a cyclist will be heard in August

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Prosecutors challenging the five-year driving ban imposed on Gary McCourt on the grounds that the sentence was ''unduly lenient'' have announced that the appeal will take place on August 13th. The right to appeal was granted on 31 May following a campaign launched by CTC and Audrey Fyfe's family.

McCourt was found guilty in April of causing the death of Audrey Fyfe by driving carelessly and hitting the back wheel of her bike in Edinburgh. The 75-year-old died two days after the incident in August 2011. 

McCourt was also ordered to carry out 300 hours of community service.  At the end of the trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, it emerged he was convicted of causing another cyclist's death in 1986.

Over 6,000 CTC members, other cycling organisations’ supporters and members of the public wrote to the Lord Advocate in support of an appeal during May.

49-year-old McCourt’s 'careless' driving was responsible for Audrey’s death in the city in August 2011 – the second cyclist he has killed. The first, George Dalgity, was killed by his 'reckless' driving in 1985. At that time he had only a provisional licence and no insurance, he was driving without L-plates or supervision, and left the scene of the crime.

Following his conviction on 3 May for the killing of Audrey Fyfe, he was given a 5-year driving ban and 300 hours of community service, sparking a huge response to an appeal campaign set up by CTC and the Fyfe family, supported by George Dalgity's sister Ann.

Audrey Fyfe's family are pleased that the Crown Counsel made the right decision and are overwhelmed at the level of support shown by the public.

The appeal judges will do their own research in advance of the hearing on 13th August. They then have the opportunity to question Gary McCourt and the lawyer representing the Crown. There is no guarantee that a revised sentence will be announced the same day, but we are hopeful."
Aileen Brown, Audrey Fyfe's daughter

Donald Urquhart, Secretary of CTC Scotland, added, “The decision of the Crown to appeal the sentence is welcomed by CTC/CTC Scotland and is, we believe, a reflection of the significant levels of concern expressed by cyclists of the leniency of the original sentence.

"It is essential that the courts provide an appropriate degree of protection to all vulnerable road users and that this is reflected in the sentences handed down when careless and dangerous driving has been proved.”

CTC Road Safety Campaigner Rhia Weston said: “This case clearly demonstrates the need to maintain pressure on the legal system to take bad driving seriously in order to stop bad drivers endangering the lives of vulnerable road users.”

Today’s result coincides with the launch of CTC’s Road Justice campaign, supported by Slater & Gordon Lawyers.

The campaign aims to make road conditions in the UK safer for all road users by strengthening the justice system’s handling of bad driving and bad drivers: from pressing for better quality road collision investigations; to pushing for stronger charging and prosecution of bad drivers; to encouraging the courts to make greater use of tougher sentences, with an emphasis on long-term driving bans.

Go to www.roadjustice.org.uk for more information about the campaign and to sign up to the Road Justice newsletter.

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