Demand a proper sentence for driver who killed twice

Audrey Fyfe and her daughter Aileen Brown
CTC has joined with the family of Audrey Fyfe to challenge the scandalous sentence handed down to Gary McCourt on 3 May. McCourt was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and a five-year driving ban for causing death by careless driving

* * * Campaign update: 31st May 2013. Scotland's Crown Office has today decided it will appeal the 'unduly lenient sentence' handed down to McCourt. * * *

Mrs Fyfe was a mother and a wife and much valued member of CTC Scotland. She was hit by McCourt while riding her bike near her home in Edinburgh in August 2011.

She was the second person to have died because of McCourt's driving - the first, another cyclist, George Dalgity, was killed in 1985.

Mrs Fyfe’s daughters Aileen Brown and Linda Hamilton had approached CTC to help them in their campaign to achieve justice. At the very least they believe McCourt should be subject to a  lifetime driving ban.

Aileen told CTC she has not only lost a mother but a best friend. They had taken regular cycling trips together.

Pressure on the Lord Advocate

CTC asked members in Scotland to write to the Lord Advocate asking that the sentence be reviewed in the Court of Appeal. Only the prosecution can appeal to have sentences increased. 

Gordon Seabright, CTC Chief Executive, joined Audrey Fyfe's widower Ian and Ann Dalgity, sister of McCourt's first victim, met with officials from the Crown Office, who were responsible for the decision to send the case to the High Court for review. 

A holiday with Mum was a lovely habit we enjoyed. There can't be many mother-and --daughter friendships close enough for us to want to spend holidays together for 45 years.”

Aileen Brown
Audrey Fyfe's daughter

CTC is greatly concerned that Sheriff James Scott mentioned in his judgement the fact that Mrs Fyfe wasn't wearing a helmet. This is irrelevant to whether or not the crime was committed. 

On the other hand McCourt's previous conviction should have been taken into consideration as an aggravating factor, increasing the punishment considerably.

McCourt's first offence in 1985

It transpires that McCourt was not a qualified driver at the time of the his first offence. He received a short jail sentence and 10 year driving ban at that time, having been convicted of causing death by reckless driving.

A full charge sheet and sentence for McCourt's first offence can be downloaded below. He had also been charged with threatening behaviour, but no guilty verdict was delivered. These documents were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

It is unbelievable that someone who has killed two cyclists is allowed back on the road to do it  a third time."

Linda Hamilton
Audrey Fyfe's daughter

As it stands the sentence is towards the lower end of what was available to the sheriff. CTC believe that such a short driving ban is particularly disgraceful, given McCourt's repeated failure to drive safely around cyclists.

CTC set up a draft letter which anyone could send in to the Crown Office in to demand a tougher sentence. The campaign triggered over 6,000 emails to be sent to the Lord Advocate in less than a month.

CTC also wrote a fuller letter to Scotland's Lord Advocate, urging him to initiate an appeal against the sentence. This can be viewed via the download link below.