A flatbed truck driver, who caused the "absolutely tragic" death of a nurse cycling to a volunteer shift on an intensive care unit during the pandemic, was more than two times over the legal limit for driving with cannabis when the collision occurred.
Douglas Toshack said he had been smoking the drug the night before the collision, and had been using cannabis for 30 years. He denied causing death by dangerous driving and was instead convicted of the lesser offence of causing death by careless driving and driving while over the legal limit for cannabis.
The BBC reports that at a sentencing hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh, Toshack was jailed for two years and banned from driving for eight years.
"The cause of Mr Harrison's death was, first and foremost, your carelessness."
James Harrison was cycling to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in June 2022, where he was volunteering to support the Covid response during the pandemic, when he was hit by Toshack at a junction on the A772 Gilmerton Road.
The court heard that the research nurse was heard shouting "whoa" repeatedly before the flatbed Mercedes Sprinter vehicle driven by Toshack hit him before driving over the victim, Mr Harrison dying later that day at the same hospital where he was due to work.
Toshack was deemed to have caused the death through his inattention and failure to see Mr Harrison, the judge Lord Sandison left in no doubt the "cause of Mr Harrison's death was, first and foremost, your carelessness". The judge also referenced a victim impact statement from Mr Harrison's widow and said it reflected "the devastation caused to two young children who will never see their father again".
The maximum prison sentence for causing death by careless driving is five years, while the offence of driving while over the limit for cannabis can result in a maximum six-month prison sentence, an unlimited fine and a minimum one-year driving ban
Toshack was sentenced to two years in prison, defence solicitor advocate Euan Gosney saying the driver was "completely devastated" and is genuinely remorseful.
"The impact of the offence on Mr Harrison's family has been considerable and it is accepted that the level of harm caused is of utmost seriousness," he did also admit, arguing that a community payback order and a restriction of liberty order could be a more suitable punishment than jail time, a suggestion rejected by the judge.
At the end of Toshack's eight-year driving ban he will be required to pass an extended test before being allowed to drive again.
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.