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
) 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.