Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Judges back death crash sentence

Appeal judges have upheld a sheriff's decision not to jail a driver who caused the death of a cyclist.

Stephen McKay, 35, was ordered to carry out 240 hours of community service after he admitted causing the death of 29-year-old Brian Taylor by driving carelessly on a road in west Fife.

Prosecutors challenged the sentence on the grounds that it was unduly lenient.

Judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh backed the sheriff's original sentence.

However, they increased the length of McKay's driving ban from 12 months to four years and ordered him to re-sit his driving test.

Mr Taylor, from Dunfermline, was knocked off his bike just before 0100 GMT as he cycled to work at a bakery.

The crash took place on the the Grange Road between Dunfermline and Rosyth on 15 November 2008.

McKay, from Touch, Dunfermline, had been driving at up to 60mph before the incident.

Suffered flashbacks

Solicitor General Frank Mulholland QC told the judges that McKay's driving record included convictions for drink-driving, driving while disqualified and speeding.

Solicitor advocate John Scott, defending, said his client had been "devastated" by the crash and its consequences, and had suffered flashbacks.

In a written ruling, Lord Eassie, sitting with Lord Clarke and Lord Menzies, said: "Sentencing in cases such as this is generally recognised as being a difficult exercise for all concerned."

The judge said that after carefully considering all the facts and legal arguments, Sheriff Craig McSherry's sentence of community service was not unduly lenient.

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