A man who admitted causing the death of a cyclist has walked away from court with 190 hours of unpaid work, a nine-month curfew, and a 12-month driving disqualification.
At Jedburgh Sheriff Court, Sheriff Peter Paterson described the case as "tragic" but concluded "the court can do little in these circumstances to repair or help" before sparing Keith Halliday a custodial sentence.
Halliday had previously admitted causing the death of Ian Methven on Christmas Day 2020 when he struck the cyclist on the A6105 between Duns and Chirnside.
Mr Methven, 30, had gone out for a Christmas morning ride after opening presents with his partner, but never made it home.
His bike had front and rear lights and the court heard it could be seen from 150 metres away, but Halliday's defence team blamed a loss of concentration for the collision, and argued their client had not seen the cyclist.
The 50-year-old had responded 'no comment' when interviewed by the police, something Mr Methven's father Alan said leads him to the conclusion anything the motorist could have said "would only have made things worse" and "the whole family feels he's getting away with something".
After the fatal collision the cyclist was found dead at the roadside by a passing motorist, his bike 10 metres away with a damaged rear wheel, and had to be identified by his DNA records.
Witnesses reported seeing Halliday sobbing, saying "oh no, oh no", and described him as distressed. The court heard there was no evidence of speeding or mobile phone use.
The police investigation concluded the incident unfolded due to Halliday "failing to carry out sufficient visual checks and failing to react to the presence of Mr Methven on his pedal cycle."
Sheriff Paterson told the court: "With such tragic consequences to measure against a momentary loss of concentration, to balance these two factors out is never easy. But I view a prison sentence is not appropriate in this case. Cases like this are tragic in every sense.
"Tragic that a young man has lost his life. Tragic for his family, and tragic in fairness to Mr Halliday as well who will have to bear with this for the rest of his life. The court can do little in these circumstances to repair or help."
Halliday was ordered to carry out 190 hours of unpaid work and was given a nine-month curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am. He was also banned from driving for 12 months.
Speaking to Radio Borders outside the court, Alan Methven (Ian's father) told Radio Borders he "doesn't know what to make of the sentence" as, while he did not want Halliday to go to jail, "the fact that he has never said anything makes it very difficult for me to form an opinion."
"I don't understand how the judge can form a proper opinion either, because nobody knows," he added.
"Keith Halliday is the only one who knows why this tragedy happened, and he's refusing to say. So, from that, I can only conclude that had he said anything, he would only have made things worse for himself. And, consequently, the whole family feels he's getting away with something.
"He [Ian Methven] was a great lad. Apart from being my son, he was a really good friend. He was fit, he was healthy, he enjoyed life — and it's just been taken away from him. It's devastated the whole family.
"The fact that it has taken almost two years to get to this stage has not helped. I just really hope we can move on from here, but I really don't know how."
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.