CTC welcomes decision to appeal sentence for Audrey Fyfe's killer driver

Audrey Fyfe
CTC and the family of cyclist Audrey Fyfe have welcomed the decision by the Crown Counsel in Edinburgh to refer Gary McCourt’s sentence for appeal, following a campaign by CTC and other organisations’ supporters.

Over 6000 CTC members, other cycling organisations’ supporters and members of the public wrote to the Lord Advocate in support of an appeal over the last few weeks.

49-year-old McCourt’s 'careless' driving was responsible for Audrey’s death in the city in August 2011 – the second cyclist he has killed. The first, George Dalgity, was killed by his 'reckless' driving in 1985. At that time he had only a provisional licence and no insurance, he was driving without L-plates or supervision, and left the scene of the crime.

Following his conviction on 3 May for the killing of Audrey Fyfe, he was given a 5 year driving ban and 300 hours of community service, sparking a huge response to an appeal campaign set up by CTC and the Fyfe family, supported by George Dalgity's sister Ann.

"The Crown Office only take up 12 appeals at most per year and not all of them are successful, so the fact that this case will be appealed is a huge success."

Rhia Weston
CTC Road Safety Campaigner

Audrey Fyfe's family are pleased that the Crown Counsel made the right decision and are overwhelmed at the level of support shown by the public.

The appeal has now been sent to the High Court of the Justiciary who will receive a report in the summer from Sheriff James Scott explaining why he thought 300 hours of community service and a 5-year driving ban was an appropriate sentence for a double-killer driver. The High Court will then make their decision whether the sentence should be changed or not in the autumn. CTC and the Fyfe family hope McCourt is given a life-time driving ban.

Donald Urquhart, Secretary of CTC Scotland, added “The decision of the Crown to appeal the sentence is welcomed by CTC Scotland and is, we believe, a reflection of the significant levels of concern expressed by cyclists of the leniency of the original sentence. It is essential that the Courts provide an appropriate degree of protection to all vulnerable road users and that that is reflected in the sentences handed down when careless and dangerous driving has been proved.”

CTC Road Safety Campaigner Rhia Weston said “This case clearly demonstrates the need to maintain pressure on the legal system to take bad driving seriously in order to stop bad drivers endangering the lives of vulnerable road users.”

Today’s result coincides with the final preparation for the launch of CTC’s Road Justice campaign, supported by Slater & Gordon Lawyers. The campaign aims to make roads in the UK safer for all road users by strengthening the justice system’s handling of bad driving and bad drivers: from pressing for better quality road collision investigations; to pushing for stronger charging and prosecution of bad drivers; to encouraging the courts to make greater use of tougher sentences, with an emphasis on long-term driving bans.

Appeal date set for 13th August

A date has now been set for the appeal: it will be held on the 13th August in the Appeal Court, Edinburgh, in front of a panel of judges. If 2 out of 3 judges agree that the sentence was unduly lenient, a new sentence will be imposed.

Go to www.roadjustice.org.uk for more information about the campaign or sign up to the Road Justice newsletter.

CTC has received a letter from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service outlining their reasons for appealing McCourt's sentence. The letter can be downloaded from the link below.