Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

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Tonyf33
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Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby Tonyf33 » 14 Feb 2015, 4:23pm

I just thought I'd put a link here to enable those whom might want to give something to the CDF specifically at this time to get answers from the events that led to the police not prosecuting over the death of Michael Mason
https://www.justgiving.com/justiceformichael
If this needs to go in the Campaigning & Public policy thread by all means move it.

fluffybunnyuk
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby fluffybunnyuk » 15 Feb 2015, 9:21am

Yes a sad tragic case.

Time for the "allegedly"...
This is what the met police are like allegedly. I doubt persuing the case will change the alleged corruption, and alleged incompetence of the police...not to mention the alleged laziness...allegedly :mrgreen:
Allegedly I found out that if you've made a complaint to the police then they may not be so keen to help you in the future ... allegedly
Having allegedly sat in a police station, and allegedly seen a police officer lie, and allegedly distort evidence sadly I think its a waste of time.
Allegedly time over.

I wish Martin Porter all the best in a courtroom with this.

Tonyf33
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby Tonyf33 » 15 Feb 2015, 8:11pm

They're allegedly too busy doing other stuff you see, like allegely finding every single purchaser of the french comic that caused a stir last month and allegedly stopping every cyclist in London that isn't wearing hi-vis or a helmet and allegely giving them 'advice'..oh hang on... :evil:

Penfolds11
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby Penfolds11 » 16 Feb 2015, 2:12pm

I understood that using the word "allegedly" was no defence against libel. Would anyone better versed in the courts like to confirm or deny this rumour? :)

iviehoff
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby iviehoff » 17 Feb 2015, 3:16pm

Penfolds11 wrote:I understood that using the word "allegedly" was no defence against libel. Would anyone better versed in the courts like to confirm or deny this rumour? :)

If you can say who has alleged it, then you are reporting a fact that someone did allege it. Repeating a libel is actionable, but reporting the fact of someone else's statement, made clear to be that, is, it would appear, not. For example, newspapers say all the time "Mr RIcholigarch is suing Ms Valiantfortruth for libel because Ms V alleged such-and-such", and I am not aware of any actions arising. When people do put "allegedly" in front of something, it may be quite clear from context who is alleging it, and thus they may be able to get away with just that. You also have to be careful that you are not going further than reporting the factual allegations of others. But if not, then it's a bit like crossing your fingers behind your back.

Another thing that is not actionable is to express an "honest opinion". To be opinion, you need to make clear it is opinion. To be an "honest opinion", it needs to be an opinion a reasonable person could reasonably come to. Thus it is not actionable to say "Because there is a string of cases where the police have not pursued drivers in collision with cyclists, I tend to the view that some of them are biased shirkers when it comes to such cases." (The notion of "fair comment", which was a much stricter test, was abolished with the Defamation Act 2013.) See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation_Act_2013 for more details on honest opinion.

Another thing that is, at least in theory, not actionable is the criticism of a public authority. This is known as the Derbyshire Principle, because it was established in a case concerning Derbyshire County Council. http://www.bevanbrittan.com/articles/Pa ... pdate.aspx However if you stray into criticism of identifiable persons, then Derbyshire won't protect you. In particular, the Derbyshire Principle has not stopped a number of local authorities (disgracefully in my opinion) pursuing or threatening action against journalists, bloggers and other critics, generally arguing that even apparently generic criticism of the council must imply criticism of specific council officers who are responsible for policy in that area, or even the chief executive on the grounds that he is responsible for it all. But fortunately it has become questionable if authorities fund the libel action on behalf of their officers. There is a recent case where Carmarthenshire DC funded a defamation suit on behalf of their chief executive, and the Welsh Auditor found that was an unlawful use of public funds. Further, the Derbyshire Principle is based on precedent not statute, and thus could potentially be overturned - it was not written into the Defamation Act 2013, though many asked for it to be so.

So there are lots of ways to express opinions and avoid libel actions, but it needs a touch more thought than the mindless use of "allegedly" or "a little bird alleged to me that...". And ultimately you can't make damaging allegations without proof, and if that is what you are doing however you dress up the verbiage it doesn't work. And there are still people who will try and operate the law to find ways to get at you if they don't like what you are doing and have access to resources to take you to court. I shall always remember Richard Desmond coming triumphantly out of court at the end of a libel case announcing his victory. He had in fact lost, no quibbling possible. But the winner was nevertheless much financially worse off despite having won, and this long and hard case was only about one paragraph in a book which only mentioned Desmond in passing, and the author's aim in that paragraph was actually to comment on the nature of another person that Desmond had some dealings with. But the reason Desmond was triumphal was that he had succeeded in his main aim of frightening any publisher from publishing an unauthorised biography which existed in manuscript at the time. Even with the passing of the Defamation Act 2013 since, they still haven't dared. Even winning a defamation action is too costly.

Penfolds11
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby Penfolds11 » 18 Feb 2015, 7:26am

iviehoff wrote: [an informative summary in response to my question of :]
Penfolds11 wrote:I understood that using the word "allegedly" was no defence against libel. Would anyone better versed in the courts like to confirm or deny this rumour? :)

[ending with:]

So there are lots of ways to express opinions and avoid libel actions, but it needs a touch more thought than the mindless use of "allegedly" or "a little bird alleged to me that...". And ultimately you can't make damaging allegations without proof, and if that is what you are doing however you dress up the verbiage it doesn't work. And there are still people who will try and operate the law to find ways to get at you if they don't like what you are doing and have access to resources to take you to court. I shall always remember Richard Desmond coming triumphantly out of court at the end of a libel case announcing his victory. He had in fact lost, no quibbling possible. But the winner was nevertheless much financially worse off despite having won, and this long and hard case was only about one paragraph in a book which only mentioned Desmond in passing, and the author's aim in that paragraph was actually to comment on the nature of another person that Desmond had some dealings with. But the reason Desmond was triumphal was that he had succeeded in his main aim of frightening any publisher from publishing an unauthorised biography which existed in manuscript at the time. Even with the passing of the Defamation Act 2013 since, they still haven't dared. Even winning a defamation action is too costly.


Brilliant, thanks very much for that interesting summary. :)

Edwards
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby Edwards » 18 Feb 2015, 7:57am

fluffybunnyuk wrote:Yes a sad tragic case.

Time for the "allegedly"...
This is what the met police are like allegedly. I doubt persuing the case will change the alleged corruption, and alleged incompetence of the police...not to mention the alleged laziness...allegedly :mrgreen:
Allegedly I found out that if you've made a complaint to the police then they may not be so keen to help you in the future ... allegedly
Having allegedly sat in a police station, and allegedly seen a police officer lie, and allegedly distort evidence sadly I think its a waste of time.
Allegedly time over.

I wish Martin Porter all the best in a courtroom with this.


I am wondering what the legal standing would be if the allegedly was replaced with feeling?

Below is a example of what I mean.

This is what I feel the police are like. I feel that persuing this case will chance things. I also feel that any incompetence and or laziness will not be changed.
I feel that if you've made a complaint to the police then they may not be so keen to help you.
Having been in a police station I felt that the police officer was not telling the truth and even more so felt that they were distorting evidence.

Tis is an example of
Keith Edwards
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thirdcrank
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Feb 2015, 8:57am

At the moment, the CDF is dealing with the possibility of a criminal prosecution, not trying to fund an action for defamation.

I see two issues. In the longer term, IMO the big issue for cyclists is whether or not it's appropriate for the police investigating a fatal collision to decide not to pass a file to the CPS for consideration / further advice etc. One important reason for this is that since a coroner's inquest can no longer decide that somebody has committed an offence, the CPS is the only review of a police decision. Nothing keeps standards up like knowing work is going to be subject to external review. I see that a member of the London Assembly has now written to the Met Commissioner to ask about this. I think this is important because he's going to have to reply, presumably either saying that this is how his force does it or he's taken steps to ensure such cases are referred to the CPS.

http://www.cyclistsdefencefund.org.uk/b ... mason-case

With that reply, the way forward should be clearer. If he says he stands by what's happened here, then steps need to be taken to change his mind. AFAIK, the judicial approach is either by applying for what used to be a writ of mandamus and is now a mandatory order, or by applying for judicial review of the decision not to submit the file. (I don't claim to be any sort of expert here.) One possibility is that when either side takes specialist legal advice, they may discover they are backing a loser. Anyway, although a court ruling would only effect this case, it would have a strong effect on anything similar in future.

There may be another way. Until recently, public complaints against the police could only be about what I'll term misconduct by the individuals concerned. They did not extend to the way a police force or the service as a whole operated. From reading a recent press release by the IPCC I gather this has changed , although I've no idea of the details. So, if the Metropolitan Police has a policy that fatal accident files don't necessarily go the CPS, then that may be open to complaint by those affected, in this case the family of the deceased.

The second issue is the possibility of a private prosecution against the driver involved if the CPS doesn't receive the file in due course, or does belatedly get the file and decides not to prosecute. There's a lot of hoops to go through, the first being that the police decision not to pursue the case was both administratively wrong and also wrong in the sense that there was sufficient evidence for a successful prosecution. I've linked before to the CPS guidance on private prosecutions and I'm pressed for time now, but in short, the CPS has a duty to look at private prosecutions with a view to taking them over. At that stage, they apply the evidence and public interest tests and, if appropriate, must discontinue the prosecution.

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Guy951
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby Guy951 » 19 Feb 2015, 11:50am

Last week (I think) I read a synopsis of a report on the state of the CPS. One senior prosecutor (If that's what they're called) had instructed "his" constabulary to pass him the file in every RTI which involved a KSI so he could decide whether a prosecution was relevant. The report criticised him for this.

I wish I could remember where I read it.
What manner of creature's this, being but half a fish and half a monster

LollyKat
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby LollyKat » 19 Feb 2015, 11:59am

Yes, I remember that too. Did Thirdcrank refer to it fairly recently?

AlaninWales
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby AlaninWales » 19 Feb 2015, 12:45pm

Probably here: http://thecyclingsilk.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/criminal-prosecutions-arising-from-road.html

The same report was critical of CPS' decision to prosecute four drivers who drove into and killed pedestrians at night, because "The ability of the driver to see the pedestrian early enough for him or her reasonably to be expected to be able to avoid a collision was poorly assessed in the decision-making." and this "imposed an unrealistic standard of driving on the suspects in these cases." :shock:

Apparently it really is unrealistic to expect drivers to be able to stop in the distance they can see to be clear! :twisted:

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Guy951
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby Guy951 » 19 Feb 2015, 1:28pm

AlaninWales wrote:Probably here: http://thecyclingsilk.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/criminal-prosecutions-arising-from-road.html

The same report was critical of CPS' decision to prosecute four drivers who drove into and killed pedestrians at night, because "The ability of the driver to see the pedestrian early enough for him or her reasonably to be expected to be able to avoid a collision was poorly assessed in the decision-making." and this "imposed an unrealistic standard of driving on the suspects in these cases." :shock:

Apparently it really is unrealistic to expect drivers to be able to stop in the distance they can see to be clear! :twisted:


It wasn't Martin Porter's blog I read but that is the report Thanks.

Now, how can I convince the boss I'm busy while I'm reading it :wink:
What manner of creature's this, being but half a fish and half a monster

thirdcrank
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Feb 2015, 4:33pm

LollyKat wrote:Yes, I remember that too. Did Thirdcrank refer to it fairly recently?


I've not seen that. Bearing in mind that I've been saying that such cases should be referred, if I'd seen something official saying the opposite I would have posted it to qualify what I'd posted.

I nearly linked to a joint inspection report by the CPS Inspectorate and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary about CPS decisionmaking in traffic cases and four decisions to institute proceedings against drivers who had collided with pedestrians at night were criticised along the lines that the drivers could not have been expected to see the pedestrians. I find that depressing (not drivers blinded by sunshine but the inspectorates spouting moonshine) but at least the files were the subject of CPS decisions.
=============================================
edit:

This is what I was referring to about the joint inspection.

http://www.ctc.org.uk/news/20150204-ctc ... oad-deaths

Tonyf33
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby Tonyf33 » 19 Mar 2015, 6:29pm

update, the private prosecution is going ahead..the police are an utter disgrace, I have had a few hours for my anger to subside and yet the words that are in my head are not printable here, my blood is still boiling tbh..... :twisted: :twisted:
The family are devastated and we as cyclists are left on an absolute limb by these 'scum', because that is the only word I think I can that applies to those that made this decision. The driver of the car is not much better.
http://road.cc/content/news/146173-inco ... ent-337003
Last edited by Tonyf33 on 19 Mar 2015, 8:09pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bicycler
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Re: Cyclist defence fund Michael Mason

Postby Bicycler » 19 Mar 2015, 6:52pm

That news has hit me quite hard. A cyclist meeting all legal requirements can be hit from behind by a car and be to blame for his own death.

I despair.