Family of cyclist killed in Tottenham considering appeal against 'lenient' sentence

Driver who pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving banned for 3 years and given suspended sentence

by Simon_MacMichael   February 14, 2013  

Justice (Lonpicman, Wikimedia Commons)

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.

 

8 user comments

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How can they appeal the sentence? Surely only the Attorney General can appeal a sentence considered to be unduly lenient?

bobinski

posted by bobinski [107 posts]
14th February 2013 - 12:00

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So does a suspended sentence mean as long as he doesnt kill any more cyclists for the next two years he'll be fine? Grrrr!

posted by lolol [115 posts]
14th February 2013 - 12:17

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bobinski wrote:
How can they appeal the sentence? Surely only the Attorney General can appeal a sentence considered to be unduly lenient?

Ultimately it's the Attorney General who decides whether to refer the sentence, but the process starts with the family (or whoever) putting in a complaint with the CPS... I've added in a bit of text to clarify.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7930 posts]
14th February 2013 - 12:32

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I was not meaning to come across as critical but there is a strict time limit to be followed in such cases and I hope the family and friends realise this. Ahh, you have added it!

bobinski

posted by bobinski [107 posts]
14th February 2013 - 12:46

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Shouldn't need appeals, causing death by dangerous driving should have a mandatory gaol sentence.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [937 posts]
14th February 2013 - 15:59

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Agree with Antonio. Disgraceful this poor family and others have to see that the UK's courts place little value on their loved ones' lives, simply because the person who killed them was driving a car.

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [134 posts]
14th February 2013 - 19:08

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It really is time we needed the culture of the Sacred Driving Licence.

posted by Kim [127 posts]
14th February 2013 - 21:11

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posted by zanf [427 posts]
15th February 2013 - 20:56

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