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“It’s not justice” – cyclist’s family reacts after driver who killed him walks free from court

John Crozier was given a community order after admitting causing the death of Robert Eaves

The family of a cyclist killed by a driver who walked free from court have said that the community order handed down to him is “not justice.”

John Crozier, 76, pleaded guilty to causing the death by careless driving of 42-year-old Robert Eaves in Trafford on 25 May last year, reports the Manchester Evening News.

On Wednesday, appearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday e was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and was banned from driving for a year. He will also have to pay a £95 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

In a statement read out to the court before sentencing, one of Mr Eaves’ daughters said: “My dad will never see me finish high school. He won’t even see my little sister finish primary school.”

Mr Eaves mother, Carol, described the sentence as a “joke.” Speaking after the hearing, she said: “He’s only got 100 hours of community service for killing my son.

“It’s not justice. We thought it would be something more. I think it’s an absolute joke. It’s an insult to the family and to justice.”

Crozier had worked as a lorry driver, but had to give up his HGV licence after losing an eye due to cancer.

His son-in-law, who was travelling in the vehicle, said that Crozier had been driving at a “slow and safe speed” but added that the sunshine was “dazzling.”

He said that he shouted a warning after spotting the cyclist, but Crozier struck the cyclist.

Emma Bracewell, defending, claimed that the driver would only have had four seconds to notice the cyclist and said he had suffered from “a momentary inattention.”

She also told the court that Crozier had decided he would not drive again following the fatal crash.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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33 comments

Avatar
PRSboy | 2 years ago
5 likes

This is what gets me... my niece failed her test the other day for clipping the kerb whilst reverse parking (and the next retest date she can get is December!).  Its right that we have rigorous standards when approving new drivers, yet once you have a licence you seem to be able to do virtually anything and not lose it permanently, or need a proper reassessment.

4 seconds is an absolute eternity when driving.  Its not a momentary lapse.

How about the defense barrister tries accompanying me at the wheel, and I'll close my eyes for 4 seconds and see how comfortable she is.

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Sriracha replied to PRSboy | 2 years ago
1 like
PRSboy wrote:

How about the defense barrister tries accompanying me at the wheel, and I'll close my eyes for 4 seconds and see how comfortable she is.

I get twitchy when, in the movies, the driver delivering their monologue to the passenger fixes them with a stare for several seconds. I know it's all done with smoke and mirrors (and trailers) but even so, it still jangles that nerve. Four seconds inattention? I'd be a wreck!

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jh2727 | 2 years ago
2 likes

"from article" wrote:

She also told the court that Crozier had decided he would not drive again following the fatal crash.

That's strange because the quote that the MEN reported was:

'Miss Bracewell told the court that Crozier does “not want to drive again” and that he is “anxious about being behind the wheel”.'

Why would he be anxious about something he has decided to never do again.

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Cycloid | 2 years ago
0 likes

Yet again what looks like a miscarriage of justice. I can only imagine what his family is going through.

Our legal system reflects the norms and mores of our society. I feel that we are slowly moving towards what I call an American / Australian set of values.

If you choose to ride a bicycle on the roads that you share with motor vehicles you must understand that drivers do have lapses of concentration, and external factors such as  setting sun, heavy rain, fog can  interfere with their judgement. Other factors within the vehicle and on the road can cause distractions.The risk is yours, and your safety is your responsibility.

 

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brooksby replied to Cycloid | 2 years ago
4 likes

Cycloid wrote:

The risk is yours, and your safety is your responsibility.

Except that me-on-a-bike has absolutely no control over what bloke-driving-a-car does.

So the safety is not my responsibility - they're the one driving a big, heavy, motorised vehicle, so my safety is their responsibility*

 

(*unless I do something stupid).

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Argos74 | 2 years ago
4 likes

I rode a couple of weeks back in that neck of the woods, stopped off for an ice cream at Dunham Massey. It's lovely part of the world to ride, especially in summer.

My sympathies and condolences for Mr Eaves' family. The judgement isn't even a bad joke.

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mpdouglas | 2 years ago
10 likes

And still the media are baying for Harry Dunn's killer, Anne Sacoolas, to be returned to Britain to "face justice". Oh how disappointed everyone is going to be. You can kill a two wheeled road user in the UK with utter impunity. Our "justice" system is a total and utter joke.

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Mungecrundle | 2 years ago
6 likes

I think that the victim surcharge element of these sentences should be removed completely when the offence involves a death. Obviously no amount of money is any kind of replacement for the deceased but a "victim surcharge" of £95 gives the impression that the victim's life was worth approximately the same as a parking ticket as far as the justice system is concerned.

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Velophaart_95 | 2 years ago
6 likes

A 'momentary lapse' isn't good enough when you're in charge of a 'killing machine'.....

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wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
9 likes

4 seconds

thats 53metres at 30mph

or 106m at 60mph

Thats a long way to move without noticing something in front of you.

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Sriracha replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
0 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:

4 seconds

thats 53metres at 30mph

or 106m at 60mph

Thats a long way to move without noticing something in front of you.

Four seconds could seem like such a short moment, magistrates might well have thought they (i.e. a reasonable driver) would easily do the same. I wonder, if the prosecution had asked instead is it reasonable to take your attention off the road for 53 metres, would they have concurred?

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peted76 | 2 years ago
9 likes

How it started: "laws serve as a norm of conduct for citizens and act as a guide of acceptable behaviour"

How it's going: Basically, zero punishment for taking a life and destroying a family.

 

It makes no sense. This is so wrong. Why is it that justice is rarely moral. 

 

 

 

 

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eburtthebike | 2 years ago
10 likes

"She said that Crozier was driving in a “slow and cautious manner” and had taken precautions but had failed to account for the presence of a cyclist."

Oxymoronic if not actually totally hypocritical; how can you be driving in a slow and cautious manner and kill someone?

This is yet another in a never-ending, and apparently accelerating, series of court cases where the cyclist's life is worth nothing.  Yet another case where the driver, although completely, clearly at fault, pays very little, or as in Rendel's case elsewhere on this site, pays no penalty at all and is acquitted by the court, despite overwhelming evidence.  It is clear that the government simply don't care, and the media just blame the cyclists.

Perhaps if the comprehensive review of road crimes had actually happened, we might have been able to get justice; instead we get a review of the Highway Code that will easily be as effective as a hat on a snowball in hell.

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GMBasix | 2 years ago
8 likes

Quote:

Emma Bracewell, defending, said that … Crozier was driving in a “slow and cautious manner” and had taken precautions but had failed to account for the presence of a cyclist.

Well, which is it? Because it can’t be both.  (“I’ve taken precautions.” “Right, what about cyclists?” “What? On the road?”)

 

Quote:

[She said] the collision was “unavoidable” and that the defendant only had a four second window to see Mr Eaves on his bike.

Stop talking Miss Bracewell, it’s all coming out wrong.

 

Quote:

“This was a momentary inattention,” she told the court.  She said that he was not driving at speed and that he was not distracted.

She's just taking instructions from the Prime Minister now:  his momentary inattention was not distraction.

 

Quote:

Miss Bracewell said there was a sunlight issue, and that he did have his sun visor down, but that he should have stopped his car.

But not distracted from what he should have been doing, no way!  Damn that sunlight! If only there was a way to anticipate when sunlight might be coming from that direction first thing in the morning!

 

So… he was driving with precautions but not to do with cyclists.  He should have stopped, but he didn’t and that was unavoidable.  He was momentarily inattentive for at least 4 seconds but not distracted.

Imagine the sentence if he had no credible justification for killing a cyclist!

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srchar | 2 years ago
10 likes

4 seconds isn't momentary.

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Hirsute replied to srchar | 2 years ago
8 likes

at 10 mph you travel 17m in 4 seconds

at 15mph it is 27m

stopping distance at 20 mph is 12m

but yes, "unavoidable"

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Captain Badger replied to srchar | 2 years ago
6 likes

srchar wrote:

4 seconds isn't momentary.

That's such a facking long time to make a decision, even just to slam teh anchors on would have been enough

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brooksby replied to srchar | 2 years ago
5 likes

I just counted 'one elephant, two elephants, etc' and four seconds would be a veeeery long time when you are driving...

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Sriracha replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
5 likes

It's the stuff of nightmares - you see the cyclist as through the windscreen ahead, cut to the driver paying no heed, back to the cyclist, closer now, back to the motorist still oblivious, the seconds tick by as the tension mounts - four seconds, seeing what the driver isn't seeing, knowing what is happening but powerless to intervene until bang ... you wake up in a sweat.

How can the driver's attention both be not on the road and yet not distracted from the road, simultaneously?

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Captain Badger replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
6 likes

Sriracha wrote:

It's the stuff of nightmares - you see the cyclist as through the windscreen ahead, cut to the driver paying no heed, back to the cyclist, closer now, back to the motorist still oblivious, the seconds tick by as the tension mounts - four seconds, seeing what the driver isn't seeing, knowing what is happening but powerless to intervene until bang ... you wake up in a sweat. How can the driver's attention both be not on the road and yet not distracted from the road, simultaneously?

And how can you not account for the presence of a cyclist. That states he wasn't looking the facking road, cos if he was, he wouldn't have had to account for them.

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Hirsute | 2 years ago
11 likes

Miss Bracewell said the collision was “unavoidable” and that the defendant only had a four second window to see Mr Eaves on his bike.

 

So much for driving within the distance you can see to be safe and can stop within.

How did the passenger manage to see the cyclist if it was “unavoidable” ?

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Velophaart_95 replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
3 likes

I'd hazard a guess, that a large percentage of people "don't drive within the distance  you can be safe and can stop within". 

You see it all the time, people just can't pay attention to what's going on around them; they drive the same way no matter what the circumstances. 

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rct | 2 years ago
9 likes

“a momentary inattention.”  A universal get out of gaol free card for drivers.

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Captain Badger replied to rct | 2 years ago
5 likes

rct wrote:

“a momentary inattention.”  A universal get out of gaol free card for drivers.

Quite, and the "momentary" inattention only just happened to coincide with the [much longer than a] moment that the rider would have been evident had the driver been capable and competent.

FFS the facking passenger saw him sooner.

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hawkinspeter replied to rct | 2 years ago
9 likes

I don't know why that's even considered to be a valid excuse.

During the driving test are you allowed a certain number of inattentive moments or are you immediately failed for unsafe driving? Why should a simple competency test (driving test) have stricter standards than a court determining why someone has been killed?

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jh2727 replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
1 like

hawkinspeter wrote:

During the driving test are you allowed a certain number of inattentive moments or are you immediately failed for unsafe driving?

I think there's a minimum number that you need to hit (number of innatentive moments, not cyclists - but maybe that too).

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brooksby | 2 years ago
7 likes

Quote:

and was banned from driving for a year

...which is neatly offset by the fact that he pleaded guilty over a year ago but has been legally able to continue to drive (up until sentencing)?

I have very serious doubts about all these people who claim that they've decided never to drive again... 

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AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
9 likes

And yet again a person not fit to drive continues to drive because they have to "volunterily hand in the license" rather the having valid medical personal getting the DVLA to forcibly remove it.

Unsurprisingly the removed eye was on the left hand side it seems from the pictures, the side that slammed into the cyclist. 

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ravenbait replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
1 like

AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

And yet again a person not fit to drive continues to drive because they have to "volunterily hand in the license" rather the having valid medical personal getting the DVLA to forcibly remove it.

Unsurprisingly the removed eye was on the left hand side it seems from the pictures, the side that slammed into the cyclist. 

Loss of an eye by itself is not a valid reason to remove or refuse a driving licence. It's certainly not to blame for him hitting the cyclist. Failure to pay the attention required for operating heavy machinery in a shared public place is to blame.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to ravenbait | 2 years ago
0 likes

The loss of the eye meant he had to stop being an HGV driver. I would argue that loss of depth perception / cone of vision when driving 1-2 tonnes of steel at speeds of 30mph onwards should be a loss of license or an extended test before being allowed out. 

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