Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

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pedgepuk
Posts: 3
Joined: 14 Nov 2014, 5:11pm

Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby pedgepuk » 17 Jun 2015, 8:24pm

Hi all,

So back in November 2014 I posted the below on the forum for some advice on how best to approach the authorities after a London Bus collided into me intentionally after failing to give me his details.
http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=92042

After 7 months of waiting, the CPS charged the bus driver with 'driving with undue care and attention' in which I'm not at all pleased with. I've raised a formal complaint to the Met Police based on the following:
- Lack of updates to the case
- A charge brought to the driver which is a 'slap on the wrist'
- Intentionally driving the bus into my bike and forcing me into another cyclist
- Dangerous driving while carrying a fully loaded bus during rush hour
- Causing injury to myself and another cyclist
- Injuries consisting of cuts, severe bruising, lacerations, stitches to deep wounds
- Injuries sustained which staff at A&E classed as assault
- Injuries which are now permanent or impeded day to day physical movement
- Crushing and writing off my pedal bike intentionally by driving the bus over it
- A witness giving valuable information and standing beside the bus drivers cab who stated that he was intentionally wanting to cause hurt
- Bus driver being provocative, aggressive and abusive post collision

One of the major issues I have is the Met Police/CPS failure in obtaining CCTV footage from the bus company in which they have responded to me saying that their onboard CCTV hard drive module was corrupted, thus not able to extract the footage. Coincidence eh?!

I have repeated myself many times to the case manager at the Met that I have mobile phone video footage of the driver being abusive and intentionally moving his bus towards me when I got off the bike to record his reg plate and bus ID. This was never requested by them until I decided to lodge a complaint.

So, next week is the court date and I have to attend as the victim/witness to give evidence. The news is that the bus driver pleaded not guilty at the original date in April and it's now a trial. The driver has been sacked from his job after my witness who was by the drivers cab provided details in a statement.

Has anyone had experience of facing the defendant in court in which they were involved in a collision with? I'd be keen to find out if anyone can share their stories.

Aside from the above, I employed a 'no win no fee' firm through Slater & Gordon to recover the costs for the expenses and loss in bike plus injuries sustained. The bus companies insurers have acknowledged the incident but have yet to confirm liability, so still no payment nor interim payment for the written off bike.

I do miss the cycle commute of 26 miles per day and was hoping for an interim payment but it seems the bus company isn't playing ball.

I'd appreciate any comments you may have on the above and thanks.

thirdcrank
Posts: 28648
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby thirdcrank » 18 Jun 2015, 9:20am

pedgepuk wrote: ... Has anyone had experience of facing the defendant in court in which they were involved in a collision with? I'd be keen to find out if anyone can share their stories. ... .


You have listed a number of grievances which I'd advise that you try to set to one side in the magistrates' court, which will be considering one thing only: does the evidence prove the charge to the criminal standard? ie beyond reasonable doubt.

Attending court as a witness can be quite daunting but generally less daunting than for the defendant. Be prepared for it not going ahead as planned: the defendant may still decide to plead guilty or there might still be a further adjournment. Read everything you receive from the authorities carefully and try to comply with any instructions. On the big day, as it may be for you, remember that this is just run-of-the-mill stuff for almost everybody else. There may be other cases to be heard before yours so you may be hanging about a bit. It's almost certain that the prosecutor will introduce themselves to you to discuss your evidence. If they offer the chance to re-read your statement, it's worth taking it. Try to listen to what they have to say and resist any temptation to burden them with your grievances: they can do nothing about them but any aggro can only tend to distract them from the job in hand. Facilities in some courts are poor so the waiting areas can be full of witnesses, defendants and bystanders. Keep yourself to yourself. Your case will eventually be called when the charge will be read to the defendant who then normally pleads G or NG. If it's a guilty plea, the prosecutor will read the facts (don't interrupt if you don't like what's said) and the defence will mitigate, especially if the defendant is legally represented. (Again stay schtum, which may be even more difficult.) The bench will then announce the penalty or unlikely but possible, adjourn for some further enquiry about the defendant's means.

If it's a not guilty plea, all witnesses including you will have to wait outside. At this stage, your independent witness is the key person and if they don't turn up, the case will be in jeopardy. When you are called to give evidence, the usher will tell you where to stand etc and do as they say without any theatricals. Once you have taken the oath or affirmed, the prosecutor will take you through your evidence and this "examination-in-chief" will be based on your statement. Address your replies to the bench (magistrates or district judge.) When the prosecutor has finished, the defence has the opportunity to cross-examine you. An unrepresented defendant may want an argument which you should avoid. A lawyer will be more adept and their job is to expose any weaknesses in your evidence. Note also that if they detect any irritation or anger in you, they may try to exploit in in the hope that you will lose your rag. At the end of the prosecution cae, unless the court finds "no case to answer" the defence get their go. Try to avoid any reaction, even if you feel they are unfairly criticising you. At the end of the evidence, the bench will decide on the verdict. A district judge will probably remain there to deliver it, a bench of magistrates may retire for a chat. When the verdict is delivered, whether you like it or not, as before try not to react. Even at this stage, it's futile having a dig at the prosecutor.

Above all KEEP YOUR COOL.

iviehoff
Posts: 2411
Joined: 20 Jan 2009, 4:38pm

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby iviehoff » 19 Jun 2015, 2:56pm

A charge brought to the driver which is a 'slap on the wrist'

I appreciate it is an offence for which the maximum penalties are £5000 and 9 licence points, but I expect a bus driver with a conviction for such an offence could well lose their job, so it may be work out as rather more than a slap on the wrist.

I appreciate that there is, on the basis of what you say, a position that he really ought to be charged with a non-traffic offence such as assault. It seems to me that is your real complaint here, the one that CPS has some explaining to do on. Of course they may have seriously considered an assault charge, and found obstacles to it. The non-availability of the bus CCTV does sound like a fix-up, and potentially exposes someone to a charge of perverting the course of justice if it could actually be shown they did that. Again, you can ask the CPS/police why no such charge was brought forward, and whether they investigated any potential deliberate action. You also refer to your own filming. This is a very difficult and vexed subject. There are very considerable difficulties persuading the police/CPS/courts to accept filming made by the victim, and it has only ever happened in a very small number of cases. It probably became impossible for them to accept it as evidence when you did not insist on them taking your mobile phone into custody pretty much at the scene to make sure that there could have been no tampering with it, and even then it would have been a big legal argument about admissibility.

Considering it purely as a traffic offence, he cannot be charged with "causing serious injury by careless driving". Your injuries are not trivial, but the CPS says "The charge should only be used in cases where the level of injury is most serious", and I think it is clear that is not the case here. If you read the CPS guidance on dangerous driving, http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/road ... iving/#a29 it does read as though dangerous driving is the appropriate charge. Nevertheless, even top lawyers have failed to get the literal wording of their own guidance to be taken seriously by the CPS. In practice, CPS seem willing to bring dangerous driving charges only where there is clear and utter disregard for life and limb. In part this is because of the general unwillingness of juries to convict unless it is extreme and clear. But I think it would be worth quoting the wording of their own guidance back to the CPS, and asking them why they didn't bring a dangerous driving charge in this case.

In getting any complaint taken seriously by the CPS, you will do much better to write in a sober and logical manner, clearly quoting any guidance. Any emotive or leading comments just give them levers to ignore the serious points. The essence of their replies tends to be "there was insufficient evidence" so you need to be clear over what you think there was and wasn't evidence for, and ask them to make clear what the thought there was and wasn't clear evidence of.

thirdcrank
Posts: 28648
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Jun 2015, 10:30am

I think it's important to identify your objectives and then consider how best to achieve them.

You're not the first person to be dissatisfied with either the legal system in general, or the enforcement of traffic matters in particular, especially with regard to cyclists. Traffic policing is no longer the priority it used to be and in the current state of things, your case sounds to be of a type where often, no action is taken.

Decisions about the offence charged were taken some months ago: when the case was first listed in April, the defendant will have appeared in answer to a summons issued several weeks before that, and the offence charged in the summons will have been based on a police report submitted some time before that. The adjourment from first appearance to full hearing is an organisational matter eg waiting for a court slot. It's rarely a time for further prosecution inquiries.

Objectives:-

If one of your objectives is the conviction of the defendant for a criminal offence, then I really do believe that my advice in my earler post is worth following. Bear in mind that criminal prosecutions in England and Wales are conducted on behalf of society as a whole - often referred to as The Crown, or Regina. The courts are supposed to be impartial but they must protect the individual defendant against the power of the State. It would be understandable if you thought of this as being "your" case, but that's not how it works. Against that background, remember that the court can only act on admissible evidence, much of it from witnesses. The evidenece of somebody as closely involved as you are is inevitably discounted as being likely to be partial. Huge credibility is given to independent witnesses but even they can be mistaken. Displays of anger either at the time of an incident or during a trial, though often understandable, can only tend to undermine a witness's credibility. It's also unfortunate that potential independent witnesses decide that they do not want "to be involved" or they have a change of heart between giving a statement and the court hearing.

If obtaining compo for your injuries etc., is an objective, then be aware that the parties, especially any insurers, will await the result of criminal proceeedings before taking it any further. While a conviction is not vital, an acquittal on the evidence must weaken a civil case.

You have listed things about which you are dissatisfied and by the time the summons has been heard and your civil claim resolved in the fullness of time, there may well be other things to add to your list. At that stage, there are various routes by which you can try to bring the various people and organisations to account. A reorganisation of the way the legal system treats injured cyclists is hardly a realistic objective.

Psamathe
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Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby Psamathe » 20 Jun 2015, 11:28am

thirdcrank wrote:I think it's important to identify your objectives and then consider how best to achieve them....

I can't comment on court procedures, but I would agree with thirdcrank. Several years ago I has to take somebody to court over a rather large sum of money (neither cycling, nor transport related). Procedures, lawyers, etc. took a couple of years and during that time I did find myself getting angry with the other party (they were always 100% wrong so there was never any real doubt about the outcome). But as you get angry and frustrated, so you can begin to focus more on punishing the other party rather than achieving the best outcome for yourself - and they are often not the same thing.

As thirdcrank says, identify your objectives and pursue them.

In my case it was £10k (so County Court in those days, not Small Claims) and whilst we never actually got to court, we did end-up sitting in front of a judge in their chambers and I managed to keep silent most of the time despite wanting to contest the rubbish the other party was spouting - and it turns out it was the best thing to have done (in my case, in my circumstances).

Ian

blackbike
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Joined: 11 Jul 2009, 3:21pm

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby blackbike » 20 Jun 2015, 5:40pm

I used Slater and Gordon a few years ago when someone opened a car door on me.

It took a 14 months for the money to come through, and my case was a lot more straightforward than yours sounds although it did involve a denial of all liability at first.

'No win no fee' firms only take on cases where 'victory' is almost guaranteed as they get nothing for all their work if they don't win.

Just follow all the solicitor's instructions and your money will arrive later rather than sooner.

Tonyf33
Posts: 3926
Joined: 17 Nov 2007, 3:31pm
Location: Letchworth N.Herts

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby Tonyf33 » 21 Jun 2015, 2:18pm

blackbike wrote:I used Slater and Gordon a few years ago when someone opened a car door on me.

It took a 14 months for the money to come through, and my case was a lot more straightforward than yours sounds although it did involve a denial of all liability at first.

'No win no fee' firms only take on cases where 'victory' is almost guaranteed as they get nothing for all their work if they don't win.

Just follow all the solicitor's instructions and your money will arrive later rather than sooner.

In my own personal experience this is just not true. My case (Accident direct) was far from easy due to the police not even filing the report :twisted: , there were no witnesses aside from the person driving into me (she said she observed me 'falling off' in her mirror :roll: ), so only my detailed version of events.

Aside from my physical injury which was attended too by paramedics at the scene (I refused hospital for various reasons) there was no other evidence. My case was settled with an out of court payment in well under a year.

blackbike
Posts: 2492
Joined: 11 Jul 2009, 3:21pm

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby blackbike » 21 Jun 2015, 10:24pm

Tonyf33 wrote:
blackbike wrote:I used Slater and Gordon a few years ago when someone opened a car door on me.

It took a 14 months for the money to come through, and my case was a lot more straightforward than yours sounds although it did involve a denial of all liability at first.

'No win no fee' firms only take on cases where 'victory' is almost guaranteed as they get nothing for all their work if they don't win.

Just follow all the solicitor's instructions and your money will arrive later rather than sooner.

In my own personal experience this is just not true. My case (Accident direct) was far from easy due to the police not even filing the report :twisted: , there were no witnesses aside from the person driving into me (she said she observed me 'falling off' in her mirror :roll: ), so only my detailed version of events.

Aside from my physical injury which was attended too by paramedics at the scene (I refused hospital for various reasons) there was no other evidence. My case was settled with an out of court payment in well under a year.


So you did win.

I've known about a dozen cases of people having cases accepted by 'no win, no fee' solicitors and they've all won.

They don't take everything. About two years ago I was involved in a petty road rage incident which ended with me getting a very minor injury and the driver being cautioned for assault. The CTC's solicitors wouldn't take it on, saying recent law changes now meant it was only worth their while taking on cases which get big payouts.

thirdcrank
Posts: 28648
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby thirdcrank » 22 Jun 2015, 8:06am

I'm intrigued by how few responses this thread has attracted: it's the sort of thing which can be on page 13 before sundown on the first day. The original thread about this, linked in the OP attracted even less interest.

Does that silence say something?

PH
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Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby PH » 22 Jun 2015, 10:47am

thirdcrank wrote:I'm intrigued by how few responses this thread has attracted: it's the sort of thing which can be on page 13 before sundown on the first day. The original thread about this, linked in the OP attracted even less interest.

Does that silence say something?


Say what? The only question in the OP is "Has anyone had experience of facing the defendant in court" and I doubt many of us do.
I'm sure all of us sympathise with pedgepuk and wish them the best of luck.

Tonyf33
Posts: 3926
Joined: 17 Nov 2007, 3:31pm
Location: Letchworth N.Herts

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby Tonyf33 » 22 Jun 2015, 9:22pm

blackbike wrote:
Tonyf33 wrote:
blackbike wrote:I used Slater and Gordon a few years ago when someone opened a car door on me.

It took a 14 months for the money to come through, and my case was a lot more straightforward than yours sounds although it did involve a denial of all liability at first.

'No win no fee' firms only take on cases where 'victory' is almost guaranteed as they get nothing for all their work if they don't win.

Just follow all the solicitor's instructions and your money will arrive later rather than sooner.

In my own personal experience this is just not true. My case (Accident direct) was far from easy due to the police not even filing the report :twisted: , there were no witnesses aside from the person driving into me (she said she observed me 'falling off' in her mirror :roll: ), so only my detailed version of events.

Aside from my physical injury which was attended too by paramedics at the scene (I refused hospital for various reasons) there was no other evidence. My case was settled with an out of court payment in well under a year.


So you did win.

I've known about a dozen cases of people having cases accepted by 'no win, no fee' solicitors and they've all won.

They don't take everything. About two years ago I was involved in a petty road rage incident which ended with me getting a very minor injury and the driver being cautioned for assault. The CTC's solicitors wouldn't take it on, saying recent law changes now meant it was only worth their while taking on cases which get big payouts.


My point was it was far from clear given the initial assessment/details that a 'win' was on the cards yet they took the case all the way through. You said categorically
"'No win no fee' firms only take on cases where 'victory' is almost guaranteed" which in my case was not which disproves your statement/point hence my reply.

Tonyf33
Posts: 3926
Joined: 17 Nov 2007, 3:31pm
Location: Letchworth N.Herts

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby Tonyf33 » 22 Jun 2015, 9:30pm

thirdcrank wrote:I'm intrigued by how few responses this thread has attracted: it's the sort of thing which can be on page 13 before sundown on the first day. The original thread about this, linked in the OP attracted even less interest.

Does that silence say something?

It does, the familiarity of hearing a situation where the innocent party is having to jump through flamed hoops just to get a case investigated properly, never mind to court with an outcome that means something and in all likelihood be too lenient if indeed the case holds up.

This scenario has being played out time and time again for cyclists and it gets to a point where forum members as much as they would like to help or pass positive comment don't because they feel it oh so futile, are reminded of a situation that makes them angry (due to how cyclists are treated by the authorities & other road users) and frankly getting involved posting often brings misery with regard to recollections, repeating the same stories about how crap things are with the plod/CPS/judges/juries (& of course the perpetrator).
Nothing changes and for some they just feel that spending a few minutes posting on a subject that can irk you so much is utterly pointless (at times).

thirdcrank
Posts: 28648
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Jun 2015, 6:36am

PH wrote: ... Say what? The only question in the OP is "Has anyone had experience of facing the defendant in court" and I doubt many of us do.
I'm sure all of us sympathise with pedgepuk and wish them the best of luck.


If I knew the answer, I'd not have put the question. The Q you quote was the one I tried to help with, even if I didn't answer it directly. Forum members - including me :oops: - don't always stay on the point, especially with topics like this.

I'd appreciate any comments you may have on the above and thanks


At the risk of labouring the point, that's a wide invitation.

Anyway, the criminal case will be heard sometime this week so I hope to hear more.

Psamathe
Posts: 10369
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby Psamathe » 23 Jun 2015, 11:55am

One warning about "No Win, No Fee" based on such a scheme I was offered. When I had to take somebody to court my solicitors offered me a No Win, No Fee scheme but on reading the small-print I found that if we won the case, I would be liable for the (significantly higher) legal fees which they would then recover from the other party. This is all straightforward if the other party is an insurance company or has plenty of assets. In my case, the other party might easily not have had adequate resources to pay the increased legal bill and were her assets inadequate, I would be liable for any shortfall.

Ian

Tacascarow
Posts: 328
Joined: 17 Jan 2012, 8:27am

Re: Follow up to accident with London bus 7 months ago

Postby Tacascarow » 23 Jun 2015, 12:13pm

PH wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:I'm intrigued by how few responses this thread has attracted: it's the sort of thing which can be on page 13 before sundown on the first day. The original thread about this, linked in the OP attracted even less interest.

Does that silence say something?


Say what? The only question in the OP is "Has anyone had experience of facing the defendant in court" and I doubt many of us do.
I'm sure all of us sympathise with pedgepuk and wish them the best of luck.

Interest is judged by the number of viewings not comments.
I know nothing about the legal system so have said nothing but I've read with interest & am now wiser.
:wink: