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Drunk driver who told police "I hate cyclists" seriously injured cyclist, decides jury in rare legal process

Janice McVicar told police “I hate cyclists” after crashing into Jade Edmonds, leaving her brain damaged

A drunk driver seriously injured a cyclist, a jury has decided in a rarely-used legal process.

Manchester Crown Court heard that Janice McVicar had told police, “I hate cyclists” after crashing into Jade Edmonds, leaving her with brain damage and permanent partial loss of sight.

The court was told that McVicar, who was not present during the hearing, was driving her Range Rover Evoque on Moorside Road in Swinton at 6.15pm on 7 June 2020 when she hit the cyclist.

Earlier, she had been drinking Bacardi and Coke with friends in her daughter’s garden.

She claimed she had not seen Ms Edmonds, who had taken up cycling to get fit for her wedding, reports the Manchester Evening News.

The cyclist was left with injuries including a fractured femur and wrist, as well as kidney damage and her vision in her right eye being reduced to 10 per cent.

She also sustained brain damage and had to undergo nine hours of reconstructive facial surgery.

Ms Edmonds said that she had no recollection of the crash, and only knew she had been riding her bike that day because she had recorded the activity on Strava.

One witness described how he heard a bang and turned around to see the cyclist lying on the ground.

Others said that despite the airbags in McVicar’s car being deployed, she continued to drive before hitting a parked car, leaving her own vehicle on its side.

The driver, who was found to be over twice the legal limit for drink driving, told a police officer: “I know I shouldn’t have been driving. I had a drink, I have done wrong, I’m sorry.”

She added: “I didn’t think I was over the limit. I hate cyclists, I can’t stand them. Some of them are stupid, aren’t they. I’ll sign anything, I admit I’ve done it, I just want to go home.”

At an earlier hearing, a judge had ruled that McVicar, aged 57 and from Eccles, Greater Manchester, was unfit to stand trial.

As a result, this week’s hearing was held under a procedure known as a ‘trial of the facts’ meaning that she was not required to enter a plea.

Under the procedure, the jury had to determine whether or not she had committed the alleged acts.

It found that she did, and while no conviction ensues under the process, the judge gave McVicar an absolute discharge.

Other options that would have been open to the judge included ordering an absolute discharge, a supervision order, or a hospital order.

The case will now be referred to the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps to decide whether McVicar’s driving licence should be revoked.

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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37 comments

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Muddy Ford | 1 year ago
3 likes

I'm hoping that McVicar was run over by a peloton who stated they hate Range Rover drivers,  which is why she is unfit to attend court. 

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AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
0 likes

I wonder why she wasn't charged or even had evidence given for the 11 yo child in one of the other cars or was that considered not Serious enough?

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Jimwill | 1 year ago
7 likes

Disgusted.

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srchar | 1 year ago
14 likes

If she's unfit to stand trial, surely, SURELY, she is unfit to drive a car?

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ChrisB200SX replied to srchar | 1 year ago
4 likes

srchar wrote:

If she's unfit to stand trial, surely, SURELY, she is unfit to drive a car? be allowed out in public to due to being a risk to everyone in society.

Fixed that for you  1
If we keep dangerous people like this away from everyone else, there isn't even a need to remove their driving licence. (Not that removing their driving licence always reduces the risk anyway.)

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Christopher TR1 | 1 year ago
15 likes

why is she unfit to stand trial? What sort of half-assed journalism is this?!

She has been found guilty of serious shit, with aggravating circumstances, and the so-called justice system has decided not to punish her?! What is the victim supposed to take away from this? It's a disgrace!

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Smoggysteve replied to Christopher TR1 | 1 year ago
7 likes

I agree. If there is no charge and no plea to answer, what was the purpose of all this? What comfort is there to the victim? No compensation or justice. 

There is a saying in law  "justice must not only be done - it must be seen to be done". (Ironically, this came about from a case involving motor vehicles) Quite obviously not in this case, It is also a complete waste of tax payers money that brings more questions than answers and solves not a damn thing. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Smoggysteve | 1 year ago
9 likes

Smoggysteve wrote:

No compensation or justice. 

It does appear that the ends of justice have not been served (although as Mungecrundle has eloquently noted, we can't know what happened between the incident and the trial to render the perpetrator incapable of standing trial, e.g. she may have had a stroke that has rendered her incapable of understanding), but hopefully at least with the court finding that the driver was at fault that will open the door for the cyclist to receive substantial financial compensation from the driver's insurance company.

 

Not ideal, but at least it's something.

 

 

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Carior replied to Smoggysteve | 1 year ago
6 likes

I mean, I think you're missing part of the point here.  There is now a legal finding, beyond reasonable doubt, that this lady caused all these serious injuries whilst driving dangerously.  In practice that means that her insurance company is likely to now be on the phone to Ms Edmonds asking how many zeros she's like on the end of her cheque to make this go away.

So sorry Steve, not only is there scope for civil justice (which is now likely to be an absolutel SLAM DUNK) but I certainly don't see this as a waster of tax payers money.

As a more general point, I really do wish people would take the time to recognise the difference between the Criminal Justice system and the Civil Justice system - just because the Criminal Justice system doesn take action it doesn't mean that it doesn't lay foundations for Civil action.

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Bucks Cycle Cammer replied to Christopher TR1 | 1 year ago
1 like

Mental Health Act.

Not, as reported by the MEN, the "Disability Act" which doesn't exist.

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nosferatu1001 replied to Bucks Cycle Cammer | 1 year ago
5 likes

It stated she was found unfit to stand trial at an earlier hearing. Incapacity in this way isn't common, and I have no doubt that such a finding is likely to be true, given it is a high hurdle to cross

Having been found incapable to stand trial there is no chance the dvla will not revoke her licence on medical grounds.  
 

Sometimes people cannot be justly punished and this appears to be one of those situations.  However as noted, this should be a simple civil claim given the finding of fact which is highly difficult to overturn, even if she were capable of or given leave to appeal, which I highly doubt. 
 

it's very sad all riund

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Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
23 likes

Not knowing the nature of her disability, which may have occurred after the traffic collision, maybe we have to take that at face value. There's little point in dragging someone into court who no longer has capacity to understand what is happening or is in the final days of terminal disease. If she, with the connivance of her GP, are gaming the system, then I wish the fleas from a thousand camels on them both.

The absolute travesty would be if her licence is not revoked.

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OldRidgeback replied to Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
2 likes

Her response to the incident suggests that her disability affects her driving to such a degree that she shouldn't be allowed to drive.

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nosferatu1001 replied to OldRidgeback | 1 year ago
1 like

I'd say given how quickly the dvla revoke in medical cases, her licence is gone and will be for years before she can demonstrate fitness to drive, assuming she ever can do. 

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hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
17 likes

(Copied from my post on the news blog)

I think we need to switch around the law around driving licences after serious incidents. Rather than it being up to a court to deny/restrict the licence, it should be down to the driver to prove that they are still fit to drive i.e. automatically revoke the licence after the incident and re-instate it as or when there's evidence that the driver wasn't at fault. That way, being unable to attend a court hearing would automatically involve being de-licenced. (It'd make sense to allow the ex-driver to attend via video as they wouldn't be able to drive to the court).

Also, maybe we need some kind of psychological test to screen out people that don't have a safe temperament for driving.

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IanMK replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
4 likes

It would be interesting to know if she had a learning disability from birth or whether it was a brain injury or degenerative disorder. IE did she pass the test prior to becoming disabled.

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hawkinspeter replied to IanMK | 1 year ago
6 likes

IanMK wrote:

It would be interesting to know if she had a learning disability from birth or whether it was a brain injury or degenerative disorder. IE did she pass the test prior to becoming disabled.

Either way, I think that RTCs should be treated as a safety issue. After a serious incident, it's clear that something has gone wrong and if there's doubt about the driver, then they should be removed from the road until investigated. The classic example would be for a driver having an unanticipated medical incident - they wouldn't necessarily be 'guilty', but they need to be investigated to see if it's something that is likely to happen again.

If someone has a learning disability but is able to pass a driving test, then I'm happy enough that they should be allowed to drive, but that needs to be re-examined if someone is badly hurt.

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chrisonatrike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
5 likes

What other things can you be licenced for where that's never rechecked? (Edit - hmm... law?  Medicine?!  I think you're supposed to to "professional development though at least?)

I knew someone who started having epileptic episodes later in life.  I think they were checked out and there wasn't any "obvious" medical cause that could be addressed.  Voluntarily gave up driving - but had he not I'm not sure that anything could have been done.  By contrast: he was a teacher and the parents found out and rounded on the head.  Instead of backing their staff the head essentially told him to sling his hook.

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hawkinspeter replied to chrisonatrike | 1 year ago
4 likes

chrisonatrike wrote:

What other things can you be licenced for where that's never rechecked? (Edit - hmm... law?  Medicine?!  I think you're supposed to to "professional development though at least?)

I knew someone who started having epileptic episodes later in life.  I think they were checked out and there wasn't any "obvious" medical cause that could be addressed.  Voluntarily gave up driving - but had he not I'm not sure that anything could have been done.  By contrast: he was a teacher and the parents found out and rounded on the head.  Instead of backing their staff the head essentially told him to sling his hook.

I believe people with epilepsy are banned from driving for three years or so since their last fit which makes sense. Anyone with any sense is not going to want to drive if there's a chance their brain could misfire (or whatever happens during a fit).

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chrisonatrike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

I believe people with epilepsy are banned from driving for three years or so since their last fit which makes sense. Anyone with any sense is not going to want to drive if there's a chance their brain could misfire (or whatever happens during a fit).

Agreed - but the point was we're not joining the dots - as pointed out there's a disconnect between the medics, courts and the DVLA.  (Aside from the fact that we never recheck people...) And in the case where the woman hit the cyclist it sounds like she wouldn't necessarily have had the sense to make a call about her own driving safety.  At least by the time she was examined before trial or whenever her competence was last checked.

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chrisonatrike replied to chrisonatrike | 1 year ago
3 likes

See the multiple times you have to go round the loop of trying to persuade the patient before breaking confidentiality in the GMC guidance here.  Good for "keeping confidences".  Is the balance right on the public safety side?

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IanMK replied to chrisonatrike | 1 year ago
2 likes

Interesting, my father recently gave up driving before having an official diagnosis of dementia. He no longer has a car, I'm not sure that his license has officially been revoked though. In the case above IF the ladies disability was as a result of a medical condition later in life and she was unable to understand that she was responsible for telling the DVLA then it was the duty of her doctor. I think the courts should be looking at the doctor's actions.

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Rendel Harris replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
5 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

I believe people with epilepsy are banned from driving for three years or so since their last fit which makes sense. 

It used to be three years, it's been reduced to one now (I know a couple of sufferers, one drives because he has medication which has left him fit free for many years, the other decided she would voluntarily never drive again because she didn't get on with the medication she was offered).

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not enough disp... replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
10 likes

As somebody directly affected by the epilepsy question:

  • if you have a fit (regardless of whether you've had them before or not, or whether you're on medication or not) then you're not allowed to drive for another 12 months. A friend of mine had no history of seizures, had a fit one day and wasn't allowed to get behind the wheel for another year. His next fit was around 8 months later, so that restarted the clock. That was over 10 years ago, so it's been a 12 months limit for quite some time. Another friend was on medication but still had occasional seizures so never learnt to drive.
  • if you want to reduce or stop your medication, then you're not allowed to drive for 12 months and have to be free of seizures during that time before you're allowed to drive again. If I'd known how the pandemic was going to pan out, then I'd have stopped mine
  • you have to renew your licence more often than most. Most of my friends have their licence set to expire when they hit 70 or so. Mine has been 10 years or less for all the time I've had one
  • you're limited as to what vehicles you can drive. No minibuses, LGVs or HGVs. These are sensible (you wouldn't want to let somebody have a seizure behind the wheel if they've got a dozen passengers or are in charge of 20 tonnes of metal) but can feel limiting (I can't drive a self-hire removals van when I move house, for example)
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sheridan replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
0 likes

.

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CanAmSteve | 1 year ago
3 likes

"But, as McVicar’s GP concluded that she falls under the Disability Act, she was given an absolute discharge from court without any time in jail."

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SNS1938 replied to CanAmSteve | 1 year ago
14 likes

This blows me away. Has a drivers licence, but has a doctors note that she can't be held responsible for her actions. That is seriously scary.

Forefit car to be sold to compensate the victim, and lifetime driving ban (or at least until the doctor says she'd be liable for her future actions?

Is this a "rich person with a good lawyer" deal?

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Grahamd replied to SNS1938 | 1 year ago
12 likes

SNS1938 wrote:

Is this a "rich person with a good lawyer" deal?

I think this comes under the law is an ass.

A friend of my wife has learning difficulties with a mental age of about 12, yet she was able to gain a driving licence and only stopped driving after so many accidents that she was priced out of insurance.

 

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nosferatu1001 replied to SNS1938 | 1 year ago
2 likes

It's the issue with test once, drive forever. 
likely, she was ok when she passed her test. In between then and the pre trial hesring, she is no longer capable of standing trial, which almost certainly means unfit to drive. 
 

No need to forfeit thr csr, if it's rolled it's a write off, and insurance is going to have a massive civil claim coming off this 

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Bucks Cycle Cammer replied to CanAmSteve | 1 year ago
0 likes

*Mental Health Act

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