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Absolute lunatic - chances of prosecution?

cruffcruff Posts: 1,518
edited March 2017 in Commuting general
Coming through Chorley last night, I had a complete lunatic try to kill me. Totally unprovoked (and I mean TOTALLY), he swerved his car at me across two lanes of traffic twice, within a foot, and then 2-3 inches of me, at about 25 and 40km/h respectively, and also opened the door on me when I was on the outside of him WHILST STILL MOVING

Two independent witnesses saw it, one of them a cyclist, who rode after him and confronted him in the car park up the road, where he gave no excuses or 'reasons' for his actions - and simply stated 'I don't like cyclists and they shouldn't be on the road' and 'they don't pay road tax' (I know - it almost sounds like I'm making it up - I swear I am not, that is exactly what the other cyclists said he told him). The second witness was a woman in her car who drove round the roundabout and then back up the other side of the dual carriageway, then back round again to tell me she'd seen it, and was checking to see I hadn't been taken off and killed

So - with all of this, I'm suspecting the bloke (and his passenger) will already be known to the police (there's no way something like that comes out of the blue). I have an office coming to my house tonight to take a statement - what do people think are the chances anything will actually get done about it? Usually in these cases there is camera footage, but no actual witnesses - in this case there is no camera footage, but two independent witnesses, both of whom are willing to provide statements. Any mileage in contacting British Cycling for legal advice? Because, at this point, I'm convinced he will kill someone in the future.
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  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 6,180
    zebulebu wrote:
    Coming through Chorley last night, I had a complete lunatic try to kill me. Totally unprovoked (and I mean TOTALLY), he swerved his car at me across two lanes of traffic twice, within a foot, and then 2-3 inches of me, at about 25 and 40km/h respectively, and also opened the door on me when I was on the outside of him WHILST STILL MOVING

    Two independent witnesses saw it, one of them a cyclist, who rode after him and confronted him in the car park up the road, where he gave no excuses or 'reasons' for his actions - and simply stated 'I don't like cyclists and they shouldn't be on the road' and 'they don't pay road tax' (I know - it almost sounds like I'm making it up - I swear I am not, that is exactly what the other cyclists said he told him). The second witness was a woman in her car who drove round the roundabout and then back up the other side of the dual carriageway, then back round again to tell me she'd seen it, and was checking to see I hadn't been taken off and killed

    So - with all of this, I'm suspecting the bloke (and his passenger) will already be known to the police (there's no way something like that comes out of the blue). I have an office coming to my house tonight to take a statement - what do people think are the chances anything will actually get done about it? Usually in these cases there is camera footage, but no actual witnesses - in this case there is no camera footage, but two independent witnesses, both of whom are willing to provide statements. Any mileage in contacting British Cycling for legal advice? Because, at this point, I'm convinced he will kill someone in the future.
    Cycling UK (CTC) campaign for people like this to be prosecuted. Might be worth asking them, although if the police are looking into it anyway they will probably leave it for them to deal with.
  • I'd recommend contacting CTC to give them awareness , and ask them to chase it with the police if you give them their reference number. I don't know if you need to be a member of the CTC to "gain" their support though.

    It's the type of thing that Martin Porter QC was involved in wasn't it, which was supported by the CTC?
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  • cruffcruff Posts: 1,518
    So, coppers came round tonight. They're going to visit him and give him a section 59. Apparently, any further incidents from him and his car will be seized. Reasonably happy with that, but am still going to contact CTC. Thanks for the advice above - at least the police didn't ignore it (apparently very good that I have independent witnesses)
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  • cruffcruff Posts: 1,518
    Well well well. He was visited last night - turns out he already has a section 59 against him. His version of events is somewhat different to mine - when it was put to him that it was actually me who raised a complaint and that I have two independent witnesses to corroborate it, his response was 'my Dad was in the car'. He was indeed - I presume he was the one shouting abuse at me out of the passenger side window. The officer put it to him that he wasn't quite sure that 'his dad' was 'independent'

    So what should happen now is that the officer responsible for the area the incident happened in will talk to me and decide what we want to do. I can either ask for the section 59 to be enforced and have his car taken off of him, or potentially pursue a case for dangerous driving through a magistrates court.

    At least they're taking it seriously enough to bother with all this, so I'm reasonably happy with the process.
    Fat chopper. Some racing. Some testing. Some crashing.
    Specialising in Git Daaahns and Cafs. Norvern Munkey/Transplanted Laaandoner.
  • gbsahne001gbsahne001 Posts: 1,973
    Having his car removed is going to hurt the most, I doubt whether they'll get DD to stick
  • Well, that would explain why he hates cyclists - he's probably already had a run in against them once which caused the first S59.
    I'd go for the car seizure and the DD - with the seizure there is nothing to stop him from instantly getting into another car and having another go - and obviously the first S59 was stiffly ignored, so likely to repeat again.
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
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  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 10,151
    Fine work sir, good to see some actual developments from something like this, and some justice being served.
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  • imatfaalimatfaal Posts: 2,716
    Glad you are ok - and hope they throw the book or at least do something.

    Might be an idea to still get in touch with Cyclists Touring Club and with British Cycling. If the Police side grinds to a halt then CTC/BC will help jolly them along - and if Police act perfectly then they get more plus-reps from two major pressure groups; and CTC/BC can point to this as the way things should be done in any future cases.
  • cruffcruff Posts: 1,518
    After toing and froing with the police, and them interviewing me, the witnesses and the driver, happily they are going to throw the book at him, passing it to CPS with a charge of dangerous driving, and if they won't go for that, driving without due care and attention. Seems he was belligerent, cocky and aggressive when being interviewed, which (reading between the lines) was responsible for the police making their minds up to try and get him off the roads.

    Not a guarantee yet, of course - because CPS are notoriously useless when it comes to prosecuting unless there's an almost guaranteed success - but I'm glad they're taking it seriously
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  • So what is the best outcome? Driving ban? Sounds like the kind of person who would ignore that and drive home with the ban!

    It's seriously good news that the incident has been handled right by the police. However, does it not sound like the police interviewing him may have acted like differently if he'd been a nice guy rather than cocky and aggressive during interview?

    Sorry if I'm sounding too cynical here. I congratulate you on your success in getting the police to forward b papers on to the cps for the more serious charge of DD. Please update us on how it turns out and good luck in getting it resolved.

    BTW having lived not too far away from Chorley and knowing people from there and Euxton I can sympathise with you. There are a lot of idiots in and around Chorley from memory. It was a long time ago that I worked near there so maybe it's better now. About the time the Mormon tabernacle was being built so plenty of time for Chorley to change.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,756
    The S59 would have meant the car being taken, but he could go straight to the pound and collect it (paying the recovery fee of circa £160), its not really much of a weapon if the driver is already at home. Wolfsbane was optimistic in his assesment.

    DD and DWDCA are know as 'statutory alternatives' that is the offence is based on the facts, so they can charge with both and let the court decide which one is proven following evidence.

    The issue is that I suspect this guy could well walk free, the Police are bad at following the correct protocol (and I won't say what that is in case the wrong people are reading it) and I know of more than a few who have got off due to Police failings.

    DD carries a mandatory 1 year ban and extended retest as a minimum, worse case (or is it best case) is a jail term, DWDCA is 3 - 9 points or a short ban (probably upto 56 days) depending on the facts proven. Both come with a fine as well, plus increased insurance premiums for the next 5 years (especially DD which will usually see the premium double in the first year back behind the wheel).
  • SemantikSemantik Posts: 537
    Absolute loons are the main reason I ride with a camera- you then don't need to rely on independent witnesses in cases like these.
    Good luck with the case.
  • Do cameras really help that.much? Independent witnesses, if credible, would they carry more weight in courts?

    Plus the issues rookie mentioned about police cocking up their bit.

    Then you hear about police not using video evidence.because it shows the cyclist committing an offence or it's not the whole footage but just the bit that contains the incident.
  • SemantikSemantik Posts: 537
    Do cameras really help that.much? Independent witnesses, if credible, would they carry more weight in courts?

    Plus the issues rookie mentioned about police cocking up their bit.

    Then you hear about police not using video evidence.because it shows the cyclist committing an offence or it's not the whole footage but just the bit that contains the incident.

    Look at a few recent high profile criminal cases resulting in convictions- murders of Sadie Hartley,Millie Dowler, Paige Doherty to name three- all these cases relied to some degree on CCTV evidence. Prosecution cases such as these are seldom weaker WITH video evidence, only without it. Same principle applies in these road rage incidents.
  • Hardly the same as cameras used by commuters on bikes are they. CCTV cameras are date stamped and I'd bet to a BS, EN. or ISO standard. They offer credible standards of traceability in the evidence pathways. For example you can't edit them without affecting the time stamp I believe.

    Sorry but a guy with a camera on his bike isn't a high quality source of evidence compared to CCTV that actually gives images with sufficient resolution and clarity.

    Those cases you mentioned weren't from the camera of a guy riding his bike were they? I don't know enough about the legal system but since independent witnesses have a better track record, not least because they've been the high standard of.evidence long before the invention of video cameras, I'd have thought they'd carry more weight personally than someone's go pro black 4 camera,
  • SemantikSemantik Posts: 537
    Hardly the same as cameras used by commuters on bikes are they. CCTV cameras are date stamped and I'd bet to a BS, EN. or ISO standard. They offer credible standards of traceability in the evidence pathways. For example you can't edit them without affecting the time stamp I believe.

    Sorry but a guy with a camera on his bike isn't a high quality source of evidence compared to CCTV that actually gives images with sufficient resolution and clarity.

    Those cases you mentioned weren't from the camera of a guy riding his bike were they? I don't know enough about the legal system but since independent witnesses have a better track record, not least because they've been the high standard of.evidence long before the invention of video cameras, I'd have thought they'd carry more weight personally than someone's go pro black 4 camera,
    The cctv images in the cases mentioned were not of high quality at all.Yet they were still valuable evidence .Bike cameras these days are invariably HD quality and show some very high quality images of bad driving as I'm sure you have seen.Date stamped to Iso standard? What's that all about? If your bike cam footage shows offending driver's car reg. or even better him at the wheel or getting out and confronting you what is the need for a date stamp? he/she is unlikely to deny being there. What he will deny is YOUR version of events. Which you can prove is the truth as you had your camera running.
    But if you don't want a camera that's your choice. And good luck finding an independent witness next time you need one, who will give a statement to the police AND go all the way to court in support of your case when there is actually nothing whatsoever in it for him or her.
    And you couldn't be more wrong about the reliablilty of independent witnesses- they invariably give differing accounts of what they have seen and that is where the doubt creeps in and prosecutions can fail because of inconsistencies of evidence. Good camera footage is invaluable- lawyers will always want to see it and guilty pleas can be expected in cases where it shows incontrovertible evidence of a crime or motoring offence.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,756
    the cyclists video wouldn't be evidence as such, it would merely be used to corroborate (or not) the cyclists statement of what happened.

    The Police will usually class it as being the same as a witness with a second witness as corroboration as that is, in effect, what it is.

    Whether they decide to prosecute will often be based on factors other than whether they have enough evidence, 'public interest' being the biggest catch all.
  • SemantikSemantik Posts: 537
    That's right.Camera footage of the incident would be corroborating evidence of the witness's account.
    There seems to be a mistaken belief that bike camera footage is by definition somehow inferior to that from a cctv camera fitted outside a parade of shops or by the council to a lamp post. It isn't. If it shows the incident clearly and helps to identify the wrongdoer it is worth having. Date/time stamp is useful but not prohibitive to a prosecution if not available.
  • So a camera corroborates the victim's statement? A second, independent witness corroborates the victim's statement? In prosecutions they both have the same weight? Makes sense but that still doesn't mean it'll lead to prosecution. There's so many reasons for failure to prosecute and having independent corroboration doesn't always affect those reasons. I.think rookie said earlier in this thread that there's so many variables in the lead up to prosecution and police gathering the evidence is one failure.

    My point was really that a few cases of infamous CCTV corroborated cases isn't a conclusive reason for carrying a camera on your bike. Even with it I'd bet you're still lucky to get justice.

    So you carry your camera and I'll concentrate on cycling safely and avoiding confrontation. That's worked well for me my whole cycling life. Prefer not to need justice in the first place.

    Just curious though to know how many on this forum with camera evidence found justice because of the footage. I've read a few posts on here and other cycle forums where the police didn't proceed even with video corroboration. I took it that they weren't as high quality evidence as made out by those keen on them. I guess that's partly right from what I took rookies meaning when he said it's corroboration not evidence.
  • SemantikSemantik Posts: 537
    I don't know enough about the legal system

    Quite.
  • To add to some of the above. Having video is, of course, pretty useful for your chances of a succesful prosecution.

    But the real advantage is to ensure that you stand the best chance of a prosecution being brought in the first place.
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  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,756
    Well the two go together really, without a realistic chance of a successful prosecution they won't!
  • The Rookie wrote:
    Well the two go together really, without a realistic chance of a successful prosecution they won't!

    Yes. But I think the main issue is that we're generally talking about 1 on 1 incidents and the recognition that such cases are rarely brought. That's not to say that they should not be or that they are winnable. We do have cases like that every day of assault etc. I think there's a tendency to road orientated complaints less seriously than other 1 on 1 cases and, as such, having that triggers the correct investigative process in the first place. It's a shame that it's necessary but at least a few police forces are bucking the trend.
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  • cruffcruff Posts: 1,518
    Yes, it's a tricky one. You'd like to think that all incidents like this are dealt with on the merits of the incident itself - and the contrition/belligerence of the individuals in question is considered irrelevant. However, in the real world we all know that's not the case - the police are just as likely as anyone else to make judgement calls, rightly or wrongly, and in this case at least his attitude might have contributed to his downfall.

    A month or so ago, the officer in charge of investigating advised me that it wasn't likely it would progress to court as there was no CCTV evidence (camera was pointing in the other direction) and, despite the corroborating accounts from two independent witnesses, CPS were unlikely to consider the case winnable in court. I was naturally upset, but had a good chat with her where she made some valid points - not the least of which was that if they DID bring charges and it was thrown out in court, he would likely feel emboldened by that and it would legitimise his driving behaviour in his mind.

    I'm happy that she interviewed him and he was cocky enough to incense her into throwing the book at him - even if it doesn't stick. I suspect that he'll be in plenty of trouble for other things at some point anyway - this might end up the least memorable thing on his record.
    Fat chopper. Some racing. Some testing. Some crashing.
    Specialising in Git Daaahns and Cafs. Norvern Munkey/Transplanted Laaandoner.
  • cruffcruff Posts: 1,518
    CPS decided to press for dangerous driving. It went to magistrates court, pleaded not guilty. now set for Crown court later on this year. The legal system does work some times!
    Fat chopper. Some racing. Some testing. Some crashing.
    Specialising in Git Daaahns and Cafs. Norvern Munkey/Transplanted Laaandoner.
  • dinyulldinyull Posts: 2,979
    Good stuff.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Excellent news - thanks for the update !
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 10,151
    Fenix wrote:
    Excellent news - thanks for the update !

    +1 fine work Sir!
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  • Heading the right direction! :)

    Drivers need to realise that driving is a privilege and their cars are potentially lethal weapons.
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  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 3,039
    awesome.
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