.citycycling

.careless

Martin Porter is perhaps best known in biking circles as the 'Cycling Silk' - a Barrister since 1986 and QC since 2006, this is a man who knows his law. And it turns out he knows cycling too. Which is fortunate really, as he's happy to let us share with you one of his most recent blog posts. You can read more by visiting the blog yourself, just click here.

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The past three months have seen a run of cases in which motorists responsible for causing the death of cyclists by careless driving have come before the Courts for sentence. Here is a summary of the 5 cases that have come to my attention and the results.

Offender
Victim
Date of Sentence
Plea
Custodial Sentence
Driving Ban
Community Order
Cahill
Jefferies
12/01/12
Not Guilty
No
18 months
200 hours
Jenkinson
Pratt
16/03/12
Not Guilty
No
18 months
150 hours
Luker
Barrett
26/03/12
Not Guilty
No
12 months
100 hours
Roberts
Stone
30/03/12
Guilty
12 months
36 months
n/a
Mylerea
Kenny
02/04/12
Not Guilty
No
12 months
150 hours

One of these cases stands out as attracting a strikingly different penalty from the others. Nadia Roberts, aged 21, had no driver’s licence and no insurance when she had an informal driving lesson from her boyfriend, Mark Headley, aged 37, in an Essex car park where Thomas Stone, age 13, was riding his bicycle with some friends. Roberts apparently confused the accelerator and brake pedals and collided with Thomas at walking pace. So far as the driving was concerned I would suggest that it was clearly less reprehensible than any of that involved in the other 4 cases. What really sets this case apart was that it involved ‘real’ criminality, namely driving with no licence and with no insurance (yes, required not only on the highway but also in a car park to which the public have access, and ignorance of the law is of course no excuse).

The sentence related not merely to causing death by careless driving, but also causing death by driving whilst uninsured and whilst unlicensed. Headley, the boyfriend was also imprisoned (8 months) and disqualified for aiding and abetting causing death whilst driving with no licence and no insurance. The investigating police officer is reported to have commented, “Our sympathies remain with the family of Thomas Stone, we hope that the sentences imposed by His Honour Judge King act as a deterrent to other drivers who think they are above the law by driving without a licence or insurance.”

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