Driver convicted of killing top NI cyclist has conviction quashed by Court of Appeal

Defence lawyers argue that witness statements diverge on cause of crash

by Tony Farrelly   January 24, 2011  

Gavel

The driver who was last year convicted at Antrim Crown Court of causing the death by dangerous driving of top Northern Irish road cyclist David McCall during a race in August 2008 has had his conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal.

Gerard Croome was sentenced to five years in jail in March last year for causing death by dangerous driving. Croome claimed at his trial that he was rushing to catch a plane and that Mr McCall who was taking part in a road race at the time had swerved to avoid a small dog and in to Croome's path causing the collision.

David McCall's bicycle was broken in to two pieces by the force of the impact and the rider himself thrown in to the air and fatally injured. Croome was said by witnesses to have been driving aggresively at the time of the incident – he did not stop at the scene but did return a short time later.

A full written judgement by the Court of Appeal has yet to be released but according to a BBC report the judges decision is thought to be in part on the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving not being put to the jury.

In their submission to the Court of Appeal Croome's lawyers argued that there were enough differences in witness accounts to create a sense of unease or doubt about the verdict which, Orlando Pownall QC told the: "Went to the very root of the prosecution case."

During sentencing at his original trial it emerged that Croome had two previous convictions for speeding and one for careless driving and that he had been convicted of two further speeding offences after the incident in which David McCall died. Judge Norman Lockie also commented on his lack of remorse for the death of Mr McCall a father of two, it also emerged in sentencing reports that Croome did not accept the verdict of the jury and continued to deny his guilt.

Should Gerard Croome be convicted at his retrial of causing death by careless driving the maximum sentence he is likely to receive for a case that the guidelines defines as 'borders on dangerous driving" is 3 years.

Gerard Croome has been released on bail pending a retrial.

10 user comments

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Words fail me!!! The fact that this driver already had 3 offences before this tragic accident and a further two after and this offence is quashed is a total insult!!! I only hope that he has been given a lifetime ban on driving - not that there is any guarantee that he will never get behind the wheel of a vehicle ever again. The law is a total ass!!!

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [957 posts]
25th January 2011 - 0:32

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what can you say

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [855 posts]
25th January 2011 - 1:01

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words fail me. thought i'd seen the worst in articles on this site already, but they just keep getting worse.

posted by sarahkw [2 posts]
25th January 2011 - 3:10

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Surely the time has come for a proper national campaign to be launched on this issue? its disgraceful.

posted by tomascjenkins [32 posts]
25th January 2011 - 6:54

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Is this judgement for real ? I am utterly dumbfounded. Confused

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

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posted by timbola [200 posts]
25th January 2011 - 10:30

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From his pattern of offending this man is clearly a dangerous driver who should be taken off the roads permanently.

If his version of events is true, then he did not leave enough space when passing the cyclist. Too much speed and too small a margin of error caused the accident.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1300 posts]
25th January 2011 - 13:08

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Can the family appeal against the quashing of the original sentence? They may of course want to just put the whole sorry thing behind them but I'm sure they will be devasted by this news. The Appeal judge is obviously anti cyclist. Surely the fact that the bloke has had 2 further convictions since causing the death shows that he is totally irresponsible driver. Life time driving ban with instant custodial sentence imposed if caught driving while banned plus the 5 years originally sentenced is the minimum this scumbag deserves.

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posted by bikeandy61 [361 posts]
25th January 2011 - 14:37

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It's very sad.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1941 posts]
25th January 2011 - 16:52

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Well, it's only a bloke on a push-bike isn't it?
And they don't pay road tax, so they shouldn't even be on the roads.

Didn't he know the driver was in a hurry?, yet he still got in the way. Serves him right.

The above is NOT what I think, but it is the attitude of so many, I doubt we'll ever change it.

Sad and tragic.

Binky

posted by davebinks [114 posts]
25th January 2011 - 20:08

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Cyclist swerves to avoid dog - that's an automatic reaction.
Motorist does not swerve to avoid cyclist? That;s no reaction at all! With reactions as poor as that surely he should not be driving, clearly did not give the legal safe distance stated in the highway code. And speeding too...
Could you make a more open and shut case. and still...

Felix

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posted by Felix [107 posts]
25th January 2011 - 21:39

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