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Six months’ jail for being a biker

Published: 14 May 2009

Updated: 19 November 2014

A driver has walked free for speeding at over 120mph with a child passenger – after a biker was jailed for doing the same.

Months after the media furore over biker Robert Bennett speeding at 122mph with his 14-year-old son as pillion, a driver who went faster with a younger child onboard has escaped with a £400 fine and six-month driving ban – the same period Bennett was sentenced to spend behind bars. 

John McSwayde, 47, drove his Subaru Impreza at 127mph with his seven-year-old daughter as passenger in a 70mph limit on the A90 near Aberdeen on January 18.

But unlike Bennett, who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, McSwayde was offered the alternative of pleading guilty to the lesser charge of speeding. He was sentenced at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

Defence agent John Hardie said: “He accepts he was travelling at an extraordinarily high speed and was fortunate to find himself on the charge he did.”

Sheriff Kieran McLernan said the speeding “indicates such a degree of irresponsibility not just to yourself and the rest of the public but to your passenger”.

Bennett, also 47, was released on April 28 but remains electronically tagged with a 7pm-7am curfew for two weeks.

He said of McSwayde’s punishment: “It’s typical. They just hate bikes and that’s all there is to it. It just shows that they’re out-and-out against us.” 

Bennett made national newspapers and TV after being jailed on March 2 for taking his son on a high-speed ride on his Suzuki Hayabusa in a 60mph zone.

The case sparked a debate on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show about whether child pillions should be illegal.

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