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One week left to write to Scotland's Lord Advocate to urge him to appeal - 4,500 have already done so...

The daughter of 75-year-old Edinburgh cyclist Audrey Fyfe is urging people to join the 4,500 who have already written to Scotland’s Lord Advocate to ask him to appeal the “derisory” sentence handed down to driver Gary McCourt who was found guilty of causing her mother’s death through careless driving. The deadline to write is next Friday 31 May.

Aileen Brown made her appeal in a comment to an article on road.cc reporting the sentence handed down to McCourt by Sheriff James Scott at Edinburgh Sheriff Court earlier this month. The 47-year-old was sentenced to 300 hours’ community service and banned from driving for five years.

In her comment, Ms Brown said:

Thanks for all your support. We have now had almost now 4,500 people write to the Lord Advocate protesting at this derisory sentence as well as wall-to-wall coverage in Scotland.

Gary McCourt's face is so well known in Edinburgh that, I suspect he is frightened to leave the house, let alone drive again.

If you haven't already added you weight to the onslaught of letters to the Lord Advocate, please do it now. We have until 31st May to make our feelings known.

National cyclists’ organisation CTC, of which Mrs Fyfe had been a member or more than five decades, has produced a form letter you can sign and send, or personalise as you wish, which you can find here.

When he was convicted in April, it was revealed that McCourt had been found guilty in 1986 of causing the death of 22-year-old student George Dalgity through reckless driving.

A subsequent Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that McCourt, who had pleaded not guilty to that charge, although he entered guilty pleas on separate charges of driving without insurance, driving without a full licence and without supervision or licence plates, leaving the scene without exchanging details or reporting the collision to the police, and failing to produce his licence afterwards. 

He was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, and banned for driving for ten years.

Ms Brown added:


I've been thinking what we need to do to make sure other drivers don't drive while banned.

Perhaps if the penalty for breaching a driving ban was life imprisonment these mindless murderers would think twice about it.

I'd also have the police confiscate the cars of any drivers given a temporary or permanent driving ban although I acknowledge that wouldn't stop them driving other people's vehicles.

For those who have a temporary ban, I would add a requirement for the driver to have compulsory cycle training & provide evidence of 1,000 [miles] ridden on a bike to that they gain some understanding of what it's like not to be surrounded by air bags & a crumple zone.

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.

3 comments

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A V Lowe [571 posts] 2 years ago
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Aileen

For a start any banned driver should be required to have a continuously recording Garmin-device, which records the places they visit, along with routes and speeds travelled. This would be auditable at any time and could require a periodic download by the Police. Software to review the recorded data could identify trips made by rail and walking fairly easily and bus/coach and cycle journeys would also have clear identities. The remaining trips (by car or taxi) could than be seen, and spot checks to certify the driver was not McCourt could be made - equally it would show if he was present in a vehicle being driven at illegal speeds for the location recorded.

As a standard practice any vehicle being driven by a banned driver would be confiscated and (if not stolen) destroyed, regardless of whether the banned driver owned it or not. This would deter any (most) friends from 'lending' their car to a banned driver. A period of severe curfew might also be used (ie remain at home between 7pm and 7am for x days).

There is also the issue of strong evidence that many of those caught for motoring offences, have a similar bivalency on other laws, and thus the monitoring of movements, and requirement to explain every journey made provides a far stronger sanction/penalty than a spell in jail.

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Colin Peyresourde [1638 posts] 2 years ago
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Stronger sentencing should be enforced on drivers who kill fellow road users while banned. I agree that is should be treated as murder or manslaughter. Driving while banned should have a mandatory prison detention period in any respect and/or very severe fines with confiscation of the vehicle.

Which planet are you on where you think a person should have a police monitored GPS? Do you have any idea how expensive that would be? And how easy it would be to get round? Get serious.

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

Stronger sentencing should be enforced on drivers who kill fellow road users while banned. I agree that is should be treated as murder or manslaughter. Driving while banned should have a mandatory prison detention period in any respect and/or very severe fines with confiscation of the vehicle.

+1 - absolutely! Stronger sentences required for this kind of scum.