Danger driver broke pedestrian's leg in Bathgate after driving directly at him

A danger driver broke a pedestrian’s leg after driving directly at him at speed, a court heard.

Friday, 12th July 2019, 3:18 pm
Livingston Sheriff Court.
Livingston Sheriff Court.

A sheriff told Bret Cunningham that his “reckless, dangerous and irresponsible” behaviour had caused severe and life-threatening injuries which had resulted in his victim’s permanent impairment.

However, Sheriff Peter Hammond stopped short of imposing a prison sentence on the “immature” 22-year-old and instead made him subject to a substantial community sentence which he described as “no easy option”.

Cunningham, 22, of Charles Crescent, Bathgate, earlier pled guilty to driving into Lee Wilkinson in Glebe Road, Whitburn, West Lothian, on 1 September last year.

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Livingston Sheriff Court.

He also admitted committing a second dangerous driving offence the same day by mounting the kerb, driving at excessive speed, driving on the wrong side of the road and going through red traffic lights in Whitburn and Armadale.

In addition, he pled guilty to having no driving licence or insurance during the two dangerous driving episodes.

Jane Rennie, prosecuting, told Livingston Sheriff Court that Mr Wilkinson had suffered a broken shin bone and multiple bruising as a result of the collision.

She said witnesses had seen the accused driving at speed towards a group of pedestrians who were in the middle of the road in a residential street.

Although the others managed to get out of his way in time, the black Fiat Punto being driven by Cunningham struck Mr Wilkinson, fracturing his tibia.

She said the victim had to undergo surgery to repair the break, which could have caused serious medical problems. She said he would be left with permanent scarring.

Andy Aitken, defending, admitted that his client had had no right to be driving a car at all on the date of the offence.

He said: “He had no licence or insurance. He accepts that. He drove in this extremely foolish and dangerous way.”

He claimed the injured man was “no stranger to court” and had a “significant number of previous convictions for violence”.

He added: “There was a significant altercation ongoing between my client and Mr Wilkinson. He indicates he was fearful about what would happen to him and his motivation was simply to get away from the locus as quickly as he possible could.

“In a statement to the social worker he said he didn't mean to harm the victim and assumed he would get out of the way. The report repeatedly talks about his remorse and regret.

“Brake lights were seen prior to the impact with the complainer. He was hoping these individuals would get off of the road to avoid him having to swerve onto the pavement to avoid him

“One individual did get out of the way the other did not. I understand he was heavily intoxicated and the injuries were sustained.

“His actions were dangerous and he falls to be punished for them but it was not his intention to strike or injure anyone. In fact if that had been his intention he would be facing a much more serious charge.”

Passing sentence, Sheriff Peter Hammond told Cunningham he had pled guilty to a course of dangerous driving in two separate cases in West Lothian on the same day.

He said: “You drove the vehicle towards another member of the public at speed causing it to strike him at speed and this has resulted in severe injury, permanent impairment and also put his life in danger.

“This was thoroughly reckless, dangerous and irresponsible conduct, at a time when you had no business driving a motor car because your licence had been revoked because of your health.

“This showed complete disregard for public safety and you put yourself firmly in the realm where a court must consider a custodial sentence.”

The sheriff said he accepted there had been “an element of immaturity and stupidity” in what had taken place.

He went on: “Having regard to your age the availability of alternatives to a custodial sentence I have decided with some hesitation to impose a community sentence. It’s not intended to be an easy option for you.”

He banned Cunnigham from driving for four years, ordered him to resit the extended test following the return of his licence and fined him GBP300.

He also put him under supervision for 18 months and ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work with 10 months.

In addition he made Cunningham subject to a restriction of liberty order, making him wear an electronic tag under a 7pm and 7am home curfew for five months.

He warning that if Cunningham breached any part of the community payback order he would be returned to court and face being sentenced to imprisonment.