National cycling charity CTC has welcomed the 20-month driving ban handed out to Darron Gibson after he hit a cyclist while driving drunk before fleeing the scene. However, the organisation has also questioned why the Everton footballer was not charged with dangerous driving.
Gibson ploughed into three cyclists who had stopped on a pavement to fix a chain in Bowdon last month before driving off at speed. Shortly afterwards, he drove into a petrol pump at which point a garage attendant contacted the police. When breathalysed, the level of alcohol in Gibson’s breath was found to be 57mg per 100ml with the legal limit 35mg.
CTC Road Safety Campaigner, Rhia Favero, said that it was not uncommon for drivers who committed similar offences to Gibson to escape without a driving ban, but believes that more serious charges should have been brought.
“Not all drivers that commit the types of offences Gibson did have their licences taken away so it's reassuring to see the judge in this case used his power to ban Gibson from driving. It's not surprising though, given the number of offences he committed.
“What is baffling is why he wasn't charged with dangerous driving. Speeding, losing control, hitting a group of cyclists: if that's not dangerous behaviour, what is?”
Favero says that because Gibson was only charged with driving without due care, not dangerous driving, his victims are not entitled to victim support or information about the criminal case. This is because the current definition of victim in the Victims' Code – which defines the rights of victims of crime – doesn't include victims of careless or drink driving.
“Had Gibson stolen their wallet, not run them over, they would have more rights. This crazy situation could change if the government's recently announced proposals to broaden the definition of victim come into force.”
CTC is backing proposed changes to the Victims' Code that would stop road crime victims being left out from it. Favero says that nearly 2,000 CTC supporters emailed the Ministry of Justice to back the proposals.