Scottish judge jails driver who ran down Edinburgh bicycle messenger
21.11.07 by Buffalo Bill
There is a big difference between what happened in the Emma Foa case and this one. In the Emma Foa case, the driver was guilty of negligence that led directly to her death. There was no intention by the driver to injure, much less kill. He was found of careless driving, fined £300 and his licence was endorsed with 3 penalty points.
In this case, as reported by Scotsman, the driver concerned, Mr Chaudry, deliberately used his vehicle as a weapon and purposefully drove it at Greg Walker, an Edinburgh cycle courier. Mr Walker suffered multiple injuries. This case has the horrible echo of that of Thomas McBride, a Chicago bicycle messenger who was killed in 1999. Thomas was deliberately run over by a driver after an argument in the street. That driver was later convicted of murder.
Mr Chaudry showed clear intent to harm Greg, and he was found guilty of dangerous driving, and the driver has been sent to jail, as well as banned from driving for 5 years. In addition, Mr Chaudry will have to re-sit his driving test. I would say that this was a punishment that was proportionate with the crime, and its consequences. It’s also good to see that the police (according to this report) considered laying a charge of attempted murder.
It is no coincidence, in my view, that this more measured justice took place in the High Court, and not a magistrate’s court, which was the venue of the Emma Foa case. The courts can get it right, if the charges and evidence are properly framed.
When considering cases where drivers have used their vehicles to attempt to cause harm, I am not sure if using the term ‘road-rage’ is justified. All of us cyclists have had something similar happen to us on the road on more than one occasion. What is it about driving a car that could make you wish to squash another human being over a matter that is often as trivial as a hand-gesture, mild obstruction or at worst, superficial damage to your vehicle. Does the term ‘road-rage’ really sum up these homicidal episodes?
Thanks to Brenda Puech of Roadpeace for the spot.