Rider group’s fury as hit-and-run drink-driver walks free
15 March 2013 13:16
The Motorcycle Action Group has accused courts of ‘inconsistent sentencing’ after a hit-and-run drink-driver walked free from court.
MAG President Ian Mutch attacked the ‘leniency’ of a suspended sentence handed to Thomas Scully, 63, who was more than twice over the legal alcohol limit when he pulled out on a motorcyclist.
Scully, who had spent hours drinking in a pub before getting behind the wheel, drove off at speed after the crash, leaving 17-year-old Michael Daniels for dead.
Scully was arrested after a witness followed him for a mile and managed to remove the key from his VW Bora.
Daniels, who had been riding his Yamaha 125 in full protective clothing and high-visibility vest, was rushed to hospital and almost died when his heart stopped beating during a six-hour operation.
He suffered a broken shoulder and thigh bone and spent two nights in an induced coma.
Scully had two previous drink-driving convictions when he turned directly into the path of Daniels in Openshaw, Greater Manchester, in January.
The construction company worker from nearby Newton Heath pleaded guilty at Manchester Magistrates’ Court to drink-driving, failing to stop at an accident and driving without due care and attention.
The court heard Scully pulled over believing the witness pursuing him was a police officer.
But in a decision which Mutch says ‘defies belief’, magistrates opted not to send Scully to prison.
Although magistrates said it was one of the worst cases they had dealt with, they instead sentenced him to 18 weeks’ jail suspended for 12 months, and banned him from driving for two years. Scully was also ordered to complete more than 250 hours’ community service.
Mutch said the sentence was inconsistent with those handed to motorcyclists for speeding on empty roads.
He said: ‘The leniency of this sentence defies belief. This man is a serial offender who has demonstrated utter contempt for his victim by driving off, leaving him for dead. Scully’s offence demonstrates gross selfishness, contempt for the law and contempt for life.
‘What hope is there for justice in this country when such a man escapes a jail sentence while sober riders on empty roads have been sentenced to months in jail for speeding?
‘Such inconsistency in sentencing brings the law into disrepute, and raises the question of double standards with motorcyclists being treated more severely than motorists.
‘Furthermore it seems that when motorcyclists are the innocent victims their lives are valued lower than those of others. The fact that this rider did not die should not justify the leniency of the driver’s sentence.’
In 2009, motorcyclist Neil Purves was sentenced to nine months’ jail for dangerous driving after speeding at 166mph on a 60mph road in West Linton, Peeblesshire, Scotland.