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Motorcyclist who failed drug test jailed for causing crash which left cyclist needing leg amputated

Samuel James has been jailed for three and a half years, the prosecutor saying the motorcyclist was "likely to be significantly impaired" by the drugs in his system...

A motorcyclist has been jailed after admitting to using cannabis before causing a collision which left a female cyclist needing her leg amputated.

Samuel James was jailed for three and a half years at Basildon Crown Court on Friday, the Basildon Echo reports, the court hearing that the motorcyclist had "never passed a driving test, had no insurance and was travelling with fake plates".

The 29-year-old was drug tested seven and a half hours after the horrific collision three years ago on St Nicholas Lane, Basildon, and was found to have 3.5 micrograms of THC in his system, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis.

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Prosecuting, Connall Bailie said "this level of THC during a collision is likely to significantly impair one's performance riding a motorcycle" and told the court that a witness had overheard James admitting the crash was his fault.

Less than a month after the crash the cyclist, who had been "in the road for two seconds when she was struck", had her right leg amputated below the knee. The collision had left her unconscious before she was rushed to a nearby hospital with lung punctures, fractures to her arms and legs, fractured ribs, and muscle-deep lacerations.

James was also taken to the same hospital in Basildon, where he was arrested by the police. Despite initially pleading not guilty and being interviewed twice following his arrest, at the first saying he could not recall the incident, the motorcyclist later admitted responsibility and changed his plea on 25 October 2020.

> No prison sentence for drink driver who fled scene after hitting cyclist and then kicked two police officers

Prosecuting, Mr Bailie told the court: "Following the incident, a witness overheard Mr James stating words to the effect of: 'It was their fault'. The victim was in the road for two seconds when she was struck by the defendant's Suzuki motorcycle causing both parties to be lifted in the air.

"When Mr James got up he appeared to be more annoyed by the damage done to his motorcycle and indicated he thought the defendant was dead.

"This level of THC during a collision is likely to significantly impair one's performance riding a motorcycle. Mr James had also never passed a driving test, had no insurance and was travelling with fake plates, also failing to report the incident."

Speaking on behalf of James, Rhys Rosser said his client had "expressed his apology for what has happened" but accepted "nothing he can do or say can remedy the harm".

James was sentenced to 42 months in prison (three years and six months), and has been banned from driving for five years and nine months.

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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14 comments

Avatar
RobD | 7 months ago
7 likes

So 3.5 years for no license, no insurance, fake plates, drugs in his system and causing injuries that severe? I just don't understand how this warrants such a lenient sentance.

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bigwheeler88 | 7 months ago
2 likes

I hope he rots in prison just like how his brain is rotten from cannabis addiction. But knowing the prison system here he'll come out ready to deal drugs and attempt to murder more vulnerable road users.

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mctrials23 | 7 months ago
0 likes

What an utter scumbag of a human being. Has completely changed someone life and gets a bit of time in jail. These are the sort of people that society would be better off simply getting rid of. 

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AidanR replied to mctrials23 | 7 months ago
6 likes

Whilst I understand your anger, I don't think the death penalty is really appropriate in this situation (or ever).

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mctrials23 replied to AidanR | 7 months ago
2 likes

I struggle to see what people like this contribute to society and they are so detrimental to it in so many ways. Hes also at the age where he isn't going to change is he. I may be wrong but I imagine he has been a scumbag for a long time and will continue to be. 

What sort of monster can do this to another human being and have no remorse. Can worry more about their bike than the clear carnage he has wrough on another humans body. He even thought she was dead and didn't seem to care.  

If people want to wreck their own lives then crack on. When you cause so much damage to someone elses my sympathy evaporates quite quickly. 

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hawkinspeter replied to mctrials23 | 7 months ago
7 likes

mctrials23 wrote:

I struggle to see what people like this contribute to society and they are so detrimental to it in so many ways. Hes also at the age where he isn't going to change is he. I may be wrong but I imagine he has been a scumbag for a long time and will continue to be. 

What sort of monster can do this to another human being and have no remorse. Can worry more about their bike than the clear carnage he has wrough on another humans body. He even thought she was dead and didn't seem to care.  

If people want to wreck their own lives then crack on. When you cause so much damage to someone elses my sympathy evaporates quite quickly. 

To be even-handed, this bloke has caused a lot less harm to society than e.g. bankers. At least his behaviour isn't condoned and even celebrated by society.

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mctrials23 replied to hawkinspeter | 7 months ago
1 like

There is plenty of merit to the banking system and it has brought huge amounts of wealth to the UK. I'm not saying that its not inhabited by some aweful sociopaths that do huge damage to society but its not all bad. People like this guy are just all bad. 

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chrisonabike replied to mctrials23 | 7 months ago
5 likes

mctrials23 wrote:

There is plenty of merit to the banking system and it has brought huge amounts of wealth to the UK. I'm not saying that its not inhabited by some aweful sociopaths that do huge damage to society but its not all bad.

They made the trains run on time?

Pretty sure there's a lot more agreement than not when it comes to pointing at wrong-uns.  The idea of a general principle for locating them and putting them up against a wall though?  As AidanR says you don't want to be a part of that kind of group.  Because before long it's "if your finger itches, better to cut off your arm".

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AidanR replied to mctrials23 | 7 months ago
7 likes

I'm not saying that he's not a deeply unpleasant human being, nor that there's a very good chance that he's a net negative for society. But would you really want to live in a society that "gets rid of" those with the wrong attitude?

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mctrials23 replied to AidanR | 7 months ago
0 likes

I don't think that nearly killing someone and causing them to lose a leg whilst have zero remorse really comes under "the wrong attitude". I just struggle to see how the average, law abiding citizen should have to run the constant risk of running into these people at the wrong time and their lives being utterly ruined whilse these scumbags get a slap on the wrist when their consistently awful behaviour finally ends in tragedy. 

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brooksby | 7 months ago
11 likes

Quote:

James was sentenced to … prison …, and has been banned from driving for five years and nine months.

Ermm, what possible difference will it make to someone who "never passed a driving test, had no insurance and was travelling with fake plates" that he's been banned from driving?

All it means that if (when!) he drives around next time without a licence or insurance then the police might come down on him even harder.  I mean: they migth ban him for a longer period...

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 7 months ago
7 likes

If if was still within his licence period presumably he could be recalled.  (I'm not sure what the advice is now though, what with prisons being overfull [as IIRC they have been almost my entire life] ).

Otherwise ... yes, unless we get some kind of punishment / administrative action on the books for driving while banned then it will remain "if you do this again we will be forced to tell you not to do it again, again".

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Car Delenda Est replied to brooksby | 7 months ago
1 like

Replace car/motorbike keys with a card reader that scans your licence, job done.

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RobD replied to Car Delenda Est | 7 months ago
1 like

Yeah with how relatively inexpensively this could be implemented I don't know why it never gets any traction. You could include a breathaliser function for anyone that's been caught for drink driving. Considering how many people are killed on the road every day you'd think something that made people have to think a little before they jumped in their car would be a good thing.

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