How to report an assault?

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Jdsk
Posts: 3007
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: How to report an assault?

Postby Jdsk » 27 Jun 2020, 2:06pm

Raph wrote:The remaining question - sorry to drag this on - is if at some point I get asked about pressing charges:

If I say no thanks, is that the end of the matter, the guy gets left alone with no consequences?

If I say yes please, what are the possibilities? Do I need to claim some kind of compensation for him to suffer any loss? I don't want anything - but I don't want there to be no consequence for the guy.

As above: "pressing charges" has little force in English law. It isn't required for prosecution and it doesn't necessitate prosecution. But it might be taken into account by the police and other prosecutors.

Any criminal proceedings are completely separate from civil action to obtain compensation.

Jonathan

fastpedaller
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Location: Norfolk

Re: How to report an assault?

Postby fastpedaller » 27 Jun 2020, 2:16pm

Raph wrote:Thanks for all that - very useful.

Not that I'm in a position to agree or disagree, but it does seem like it's not a road traffic issue, the vehicle is merely instrumental in finding the guy, and possibly in aiding the perpetrator.

If the incident had no vehicle involved, I'd still have the guy's arm motion very clearly caught on one camera and his cheerful face on another. The reg number helps to narrow down the search.

I'm not brushing off the annoyance, like a kid being bullied in the playground defiantly saying "didn't hurt!!" - but it really wasn't a big deal; the main point is what this person might do to others, which may not be enough of a reason to pursue it with any vigour. It wasn't an attempted knife attack, it wasn't potentially deadly, though it did show disregard for potential secondary consequences.


The remaining question - sorry to drag this on - is if at some point I get asked about pressing charges:

If I say no thanks, is that the end of the matter, the guy gets left alone with no consequences?

If I say yes please, what are the possibilities? Do I need to claim some kind of compensation for him to suffer any loss? I don't want anything - but I don't want there to be no consequence for the guy.


It was attempted assault - the next person could end up in a ditch and seriously injured. Whether charges are 'pressed' is, I believe, decided by Police or CPS. I believe (I may be wrong) that asking 'do you want to press charges' is basically asking 'do you want us to drop this' in a roundabout way. They possibly do this because asking the latter could be seen as leading the victim towards the answer they(Police) really want.
Over the years I've formed the opinion (rightly or wrongly) that if the Police can avoid work they will.

I had a 'discussion' in a Police station after being assaulted (passenger tried to push me off as car passed) - the Police would do nothing (no witnesses) The cop on the desk got quite irate when I said "It's only because of my skill that I wasn't hurt If you won't take any action, then if I see this car at the traffic lights I'll throw a punch at the passenger - If he avoids it then there is no problem" He said I'd be breaking the law, and they would try to apprehend me! To which of course I said "so it's one rule for motorists and another for cyclists" I can see why the cop got angry (they don't like being held to account) but I maintain I was correct.

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: How to report an assault?

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Jun 2020, 2:42pm

I agree completely that this isn't a road traffic issue, which is why I put in my first reply that this should be reported as an assault, not some sort of extra-close pass. Once it's accepted it's an assault, then suspects have all their rights, especially the right not to answer questions. Having details of the vehicle reg is more in the nature of intelligence/information. It's valuable information, but not a guaranteed route to admissible evidence of identity. As I've tried to explain, the section 59 notice procedure was introduced to deal with the growing nuisance of motor vehicles being used to cause a nuisance when details of occupants could not be discovered, and IMO bullying cyclists like this is way up that list.

I cannot really help with the "press charges" point because it's an expression I've only ever seen used on the telly.

For various reasons, the CPS has always been very keen to know if a witness is prepared to attend court and give evidence in the event of a contested case. In practical terms, I fancy that's all you were being asked here. I think that saying "no" would pretty much prevent worthwhile further action. Saying "yes" would not guarantee what happened in that the system is geared up these days to go for anything but a prosecution, and the Covid19 induced backlog of court cases can only reinforce that. While there's increasing weight put on a complainant's wishes in this regard, that cannot override the need for their to be sufficient evidence and to meet the public interest criteria. I would say that personal violence is now a big priority in the legal system so the public interest should tend towards prosecution if there's sufficient evidence.

In case you are in any doubt, I think the behaviour of the passenger and driver in this incident was unacceptable, is all too common, needs stopping and prosecution where possible is the only way to have a hope of stopping it. It sounds to have been premeditated in that your assailant had a weapon and probably involved some co-operation between driver and passenger. It's hardly likely to have been a one-off by this pair; fortunately, you have filmed it.
=========================================================
Jdsk covered it all more succinctly and so posted before I did, but criminal courts can in certain cases award compensation and have been able to do so since at least the 1960s. It's only ancillary to the criminal proceedings, but a frequent result of straightforward assault convictions for relatively minor injuries ie not for disability etc.

Raph
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Location: Banbury

Re: How to report an assault?

Postby Raph » 28 Jun 2020, 12:12pm

Over the years I've formed the opinion (rightly or wrongly) that if the Police can avoid work they will.

Haha - definitely! Or rather they've got too much on their plate already - for you and me that's the same result. Similar thing with teachers, GPs, etc...

But also, I totally accept that the police have to take "hurt" with a pinch of salt sometimes because malice is often not proportional to its effects - if we went by people's massive indignation at very minor transgressions, there'd be a death penalty for farting. My other half touched a wing mirror once while passing a narrow gap between cars (that so-called "weaving" thing the motorists hate so much). It really was just a touch... but the woman went ballistic and demanded an apology, which she didn't get so she went even more ballistic and started spouting really nasty stuff, citing the touching of a wing mirror alongside killing cyclists as morally equivalent. In this case it's the opposite - the guy was keen to hurt someone but the only feeling I'm left with is that there's a guy somewhere who's an overweening t0ss€r.

I cannot really help with the "press charges" point because it's an expression I've only ever seen used on the telly.

It's the expression the cop used when he asked me, more than once. Each time I just said the priority was to stop the guy doing it to someone else.

Anyway, it's out of my hands now. I have to forget about it and hope they come up with something.

Thanks for all the replies!

Sergeant Pluck
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Joined: 28 Jun 2020, 4:49pm

Re: How to report an assault?

Postby Sergeant Pluck » 28 Jun 2020, 4:54pm

I hope that you will give us an update if you hear anything from the police about any action they take.

fastpedaller
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Location: Norfolk

Re: How to report an assault?

Postby fastpedaller » 28 Jun 2020, 4:56pm

So, may I ask, did you say 'yes' to his question(s) asking if you want to press charges?

Raph
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Location: Banbury

Re: How to report an assault?

Postby Raph » 28 Jun 2020, 5:19pm

I'm afraid I didn't give a straight yes or no - I said if the only way to cause him some legal grief is for me to press charges, i.e. if the result of not doing so is no consequences whatsoever for him and no deterrent to carrying on as he was... then yes I will.

The problem will then be if I have to quantify the pain and suffering and personal loss, I'll struggle to come up with anything. I'm actually totally fine and it's all potential, theoretical, hypothetical, implied, etc...

This is one of the things I thought perhaps wrongly was the difference between civil and criminal law - you rip someone off or have a disagreement about a garden fence, it's up to them to "do" you, but if you assault someone it's the state that "does" you regardless whether they do or not. Maybe that's a punter's-eye-view of things and actually all wrong!

thirdcrank
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Re: How to report an assault?

Postby thirdcrank » 28 Jun 2020, 6:48pm

The criminal law takes action on behalf of us all in the name of The Crown against things which, as a society, we don't like. Personal violence is just one of those things.

Once upon a time, only the victim could undertake a summary prosecution for common assault but sustained campaigning led to a change.

Also, once upon a time, if the authorities undertook a prosecution for assault, then witnesses including the victim could be compelled to testify and could be punished if they failed to do so. Judge James Pickles attracted a lot of criticism for doing just that.

So, following more campaigning, the authorities are now expected to take the victim's wishes into account formally. As I think I've already posted before, while a victim's wishes may stop a prosecution, they cannot override a lack of sufficient admissible evidence. The authorities may still undertake a prosecution in the public interest, in spite of the victim's expressed wishes.

A practical effect is that we've gone from a position where the police could not normally prosecute common assault to one where all reported assaults have to be, at the very least considered. Incidentally, investigating common assaults is one of the things which has led to the collapse of traffic policing.

Another fairly recent development (in thirdcrank years :oops: ) is the victim statement, which is intended to give them a voice. Historically, as a prosecution was undertaken on behalf of society, it was often felt that the effect on the victim was not properly taken into account, especially when the defendant's brief might spend a lot of time slagging them off.

Unfortunately, those who purport to represent cyclists have not recognised the sort of behaviour which occurred here as a problem.

Samuel D
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Re: How to report an assault?

Postby Samuel D » 28 Jun 2020, 7:12pm

Raph wrote:The problem will then be if I have to quantify the pain and suffering and personal loss, I'll struggle to come up with anything. I'm actually totally fine and it's all potential, theoretical, hypothetical, implied, etc...

No need to be a hero. Assault can be deeply unsettling and most victims would be greatly distressed by what occurred, even if bodily injury is negligible.

The only good reason not to push for an assault charge here is that you’re worried about reprisals by the thug. Which I could understand even while knowing it fantastically unlikely that the sort of coward who strikes a cyclist from a motor vehicle would try anything requiring physical courage. Otherwise, you owe it to yourself and society at large to make this idiot’s life difficult for a few months.

It’s utterly depressing that the police aren’t leaping into vigorous action for this. What are they for if not to prevent random assault in a public space in broad daylight? Pathetic.

Raph
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Joined: 13 Mar 2007, 8:14pm
Location: Banbury

Re: How to report an assault?

Postby Raph » 28 Jun 2020, 8:46pm

Raph wrote:The problem will then be if I have to quantify the pain and suffering and personal loss, I'll struggle to come up with anything. I'm actually totally fine and it's all potential, theoretical, hypothetical, implied, etc...

No need to be a hero. Assault can be deeply unsettling and most victims would be greatly distressed by what occurred, even if bodily injury is negligible.


Well, yes - it's all that "potential, theoretical, hypothetical, implied, etc." that is deeply unsettling. Sorry if you regard it as heroic but I really wasn't hurt, any more than accidentally letting go of a big elastic band. But it could have been a lot worse, and someone else might be badly hurt if the circumstances are only slightly different - to me that's the point.

The only good reason not to push for an assault charge here is that you’re worried about reprisals by the thug.

This wasn't where I live, it was at the furthest point of a 55-mile ride, but if it had been let's say on my street, I'd be worried about that. I'm not a paranoid type but due to recent petty thefts around here I've got cameras all around the house! I'm a walking "surveillance society" all of my own!

you owe it to yourself and society at large to make this idiot’s life difficult for a few months.

Precisely why I said if they don't, I will.

It’s utterly depressing that the police aren’t leaping into vigorous action for this. What are they for if not to prevent random assault in a public space in broad daylight? Pathetic.

To be fair, we don't necessarily know that they're not doing anything, it's just I haven't heard back yet. It happened Wednesday, I reported it Thursday, I spoke to the guy Friday morning and it's only Sunday. I'm hoping anyone else he might have done that to reported it as well, whether they've got video evidence or not.

ossie
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Re: How to report an assault?

Postby ossie » 28 Jun 2020, 9:01pm

Best of luck with this assault. Give it time and it should be dealt with. If it isn't use the complaints procedure.

The driver is also responsible for his part in slowing down and setting up the guy who hit you. Clearly he will be the first port of call and should be interviewed as a starting point as he assisted the offender. It used to be aid, abet, counsel or procure or something similar back in the day but I'm a little out of touch.