Lorry driver escapes jail for causing death of London cyclist by dangerous driving

Lorry driver who crushed 60 year old cyclist under his wheels as he turned left escapes with 18 month ban and community work

A lorry driver who killed a 60-year-old cyclist has escaped jail, instead being handed down an 18 month driving ban and 250 hours of unpaid work.

Paul O’Callaghan, 35, crushed cyclist Tarsem Dari to death beneath the wheels of his four-axle tipper lorry as he performed a left turn in Southall, west London, on July 5 last year.

Isleworth Crown Court heard Mr Dari was pronounced dead at the scene, according to London 24.

O’Callaghan pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving - a relatively difficult crime to prosecute and attracting higher sentences than the lesser charge of death by careless driving - and was given a nine-month sentence, suspended for two years.

Last year the national cyclists' organisation, the CTC, launched its Road Justice Campaign which aims to get the justice system to take a more rigorous approach to investigating, prosecuting, and sentencing incidents of bad driving on Britain's roads.

In a statement on its home page at www.roadjustice.org.uk the campaign sets out what it is seeking to change:

"Road casualties can and should be prevented, yet the justice system is failing to ensure safety on our roads by not taking road crime seriously. The police and coroners do not investigate road collisions thoroughly enough; the prosecution services make weak charging and prosecution decisions, and the courts issue sentences that do not adequately reflect the severity of crimes committed by bad drivers."

The new campaign builds on the work of CTC's Stop SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I Didn't See You) campaign and their recent efforts to get newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners to make road safety a priority. You can report you own examples of bad driving to the site - including video footage - by logging on to the site you can also support  through donations and by signing up for campaign updates.

Last year we reported that a review of current sentencing guidelines, which will be accompanied by a consultation, will be carried out by the Sentencing Council, which is an independent non- departmental public body of the Ministry of Justice, and will cover the offences of causing death by careless driving and causing death or serious injury by dangerous driving. Proposals will be subject to a formal consultation.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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