Speeding biker gets 4 months, thieves get just 2
In the past few days the biking interwebs have gone into meltdown over the four-month sentence and five-year ban handed to Scot Barry Gray for speeding at 149mph.
Make no mistake, that was a dumb move. But a four-month prison sentence? Not even suspended? When known motorcycle thieves get handed just two months?
Barry is a very experienced biker by all accounts, having competed in Scottish biking championships, and he chose to be a lunatic in carefully considered conditions – clear, dry with no traffic on a road he knew well. The burst was short as he tried to clear a ‘coughing’ engine on a 20-year old bike that he was shaking down after eight years off the road.
None of which excuses his actions, but they should mitigate any punishment handed out. Normally, topping the ton means a ban of around one year, but even that is discretionary.
So why five years? Even though he claimed in court not to have known the exact speed he’d reached, the rider will have known instantly he had done wrong and the dread of losing his licence even for six months to a year would have been the beginning of his punishment. Some of us have been there…
But, again, five years? What on earth is the possible justification for that? Especially in the more rural Highlands where travel options are limited and losing your licence can be socially and financially crippling?
And that is on top of a four-month prison sentence. Frankly, it boils our piss that motorbike thieves get minimal sentences yet someone causing far less distress to society can be put away for twice as long.
There may be people that say he deserved the punishment. Right now, the only person thinking that must be Sheriff Sutherland who in sentencing Gray said, “It beggars belief you would test your bike in circumstances like this. But I am perturbed that, not withstanding your knowledge of bikes, you were not aware of the speed you were doing. Therefore I cannot deal with this other than with a custodial sentence.”
No, Your Honour, the only thing that beggars belief is your overly-punitive punishment.