Jail for banned biker after death smash

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A banned biker has been jailed after speeding through Arbroath at up to 70mph on a motorbike before his friend crashed and died.

James Bryson sustained fatal injuries when his Kawasaki motorcycle collided with a white Toyota Yaris in the town last year.

The 28-year-old father-of-one - who was himself supposed to be disqualified from driving at the time - was treated at the scene but paramedics could not save him.

His best friend, Mark Aitchison, admitted a charge of dangerous driving relating to his own riding during the incident in the Angus town’s Glenogil Drive and Seaton Road on August 20.

Fiscal depute Hannah Kennedy told Forfar Sheriff Court that the accused had been disqualified from driving at Dundee Sheriff Court for five years on December 19, 2013.

She said: “Glenogil Drive and Seaton Road are heavily populated, built-up areas.

“On August 20, 2014, the accused was the owner of a 600cc Kawasaki Ninja and was accompanied by his friend, the late James Bryson, who had been visiting a friend. Mr Bryson was driving his own 1000cc Kawasaki Ninja and they had been driving their motorcycles up and down Glenogil Drive.”

One witness reported the accused was driving on the correct side of the road at 60-70mph in the 30mph residential area. Mr Bryson was on the other side of the road when the female driver of the Yaris turned right from Seaton Road on to Glenogil Drive, resulting in a head-on collision.

Ms Kennedy added: “Sadly as a result of that collision, he was catapulted into a garden.”

Aitchison checked on Mr Bryson and left the scene to tell a friend, returning shortly after.

As a result of police investigations, they found he was a disqualified driver.

Aitchison, 22, of Whitfield Rise, Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of dangerous driving while disqualified and uninsured on August 20 last year.

Defence solicitor Stephen Forsyth said his client pre-empted the upper speed limit of 60mph while in the 30mph zone. He added: “The adrenaline... was kicking in and they accelerated too early. Mr Aitchison has been very candid in his answers. He takes full responsibility for his actions.

“He has been deeply affected by this incident – the deceased was his best friend. He constantly weighs this in his head and he has nightmares. No punishment is worse than what he is going through.”

Sheriff Simon Collins jailed Aitchison for 18 months and banned him from the road for 12 years.

He said: “He was not responsible for what happened to Mr Bryson.

“Mr Bryson has responsibility for his own actions, and unfortunately they led to his death.

“Having said that, as a 22-year-old you’ve got an appalling road traffic history and have been disqualified on a number of occasions.”