The family of a cyclist killed in Tottenham, North London in March last year is said to be considering asking for the sentence handed down to the driver convicted of causing his death by dangerous driving to be appealed on the grounds that it is too lenient, and specifically a three-year ban from driving the motorist was given.
Frank Mugisha from Enfield, aged 41 and a father of four, lost his life six days after being struck by a car driven by 63-year-old Jonathan Baird at the junction of Great Cambridge Road and White Hart Lane on 27 March 2012, reports the Haringey Independent.
Baird, from Waltham Forest, pleaded guilty to causing his death by dangerous driving at Wood Green Crown Court and was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay £500 costs.
He was also banned from driving for three years, and will need to take an extended test before his licence is returned.
Isaac Adams, a friend of Mr Mugisha, told the newspaper that the victim’s family were considering asking for an appeal against the sentence and that he would be speaking about the matter with the cyclist's widow, Jennifer.
Victims, their families and other members of the public who believe a sentence in a given case is unduly lenient can complain to their local Crown Prosecution Service office, which may then decide to refer the issue to the Attorney General to consider whether an appeal should be lodged.
There is a 28-day limit between the date of sentencing and the case being referred by the Attorney General to the Court of Appeal, with no possibility of extension.
“I really think it is an insufficient sentence. I mean, you can’t take a life and get a three-year driving ban,” he explained.
“When you look at what the accident has cost his kids, they have been left without a father for good. This person has taken away a life from us.
“It is absolutely unbelievable. Someone with that kind of past should be banned for life.
“Last year it was Frank, in three years it could be someone else – it is something that could be avoidable. What is £500? It is probably something he was making in a week.
“We were hoping for a sentence within reason for the tragedy that he caused. That’s what justice is about. I am really appalled.
“There is no justice that could bring back Frank’s life but this sentence is a slap on the wrist – it doesn’t fit the crime.”
Last year saw the launch of a campaign led by British Cycling to call for a review of sentencing in cases in which cyclists are the victims, and representatives of British Cycling, CTC and RoadPeace met with justice minister Helen Grant in December to urge action from the government.
If you feel strongly about the way incidents in which cyclists and other vulnerable road users are are dealt with by the police and courts national cyclists’ organisation CTC earlier this month launched its Prioritise This campaign urging people living in England (outside London) and Wales to write to their police and crime commissioners to tell them to make road safety a priority. You can find out more details about that campaign here.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.