Common Assault

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
jatindersangha
Posts: 118
Joined: 23 Jun 2015, 11:19am

Common Assault

Postby jatindersangha » 13 Sep 2017, 11:27am

Hi all,

Today, within 3 minutes of leaving the house, on my way to work, I was overtaken by the rider of a moped who attempted to push me off my bike.

It took a few seconds for the reality to sink in - had I fallen, the moped rider could have seriously injured me if not killed me - and so (unusually for me), I had the wherewithal to slow down and stop in the middle of the lane and ask the driver of the following car if they had witnessed the event. They had seen it all and gave me their details etc.

As per usual, I had my cameras on so managed to get some video and the moped's registration number.

I went straight back home and reported the incident via 999, and had a statement sorted out with the police an hour later - an incident of common assault.

The 999 operator was keen to point out that it wasn't an RTC/RTA because our vehicles hadn't touched!

It appears the police are taking it very seriously, if only Surrey Road Police would do the same with my close-pass reports.

--Jatinder

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

Re: Common Assault

Postby thirdcrank » 13 Sep 2017, 11:30am

I'm sure you will keep us posted. One thing's for sure, a common assault prosecution isn't dependant on the timely service of an NIP. :D

jatindersangha
Posts: 118
Joined: 23 Jun 2015, 11:19am

Re: Update

Postby jatindersangha » 13 Oct 2017, 9:15am

The moped rider in question, was interviewed and did not accept that this was common assault, he stated that he pushed me in self-defence - as he honestly believed that I was going to cycle into him or make him hit the central white line which would have caused him to lose balance. The PC said he would review the case with his sergeant in a few days - so I sent him further photos taken from the video and reminded him that Surrey RPU are stating that motorists should give 1.5metres clearance when overtaking or wait.

After reviewing the incident with a sergeant, the police said they would treat this "low level" via a "community resolution" which is similar to a police caution. No mention of dangerous/careless driving.

I used one of the photos to estimate how far the moped was from me (based on marks left on the ground after roadworks - and physically measuring them) - the result was that our rear wheels had no more than 50cm between them as he overtook me...taking account of handlebars - our rear wheels would need to be 60cm away from each other so that our handlebars wouldn't touch.

So, I emailed the sergeant, pointing this out as well as Surrey RPU's tweets about leaving 1.5metres and asked them if the TPU (who deal with traffic incidents) or the RPU had actually seen the evidence - and questioned why it wasn't considered dangerous/careless.

They then got back to me saying that the charges of common assault and careless driving had "been made out" and they were treating the assault by way of police caution as he has no previous offending history.

(Their response wasn't as clear as what i've just written - it isn't clear to me whether they were charging him with careless driving or giving him a police caution for that as well.)

Anyway, I emailed them for clarification - so I emailed them a few days ago, asking the question directly...no response yet.

--Jatinder

User avatar
The utility cyclist
Posts: 2484
Joined: 22 Aug 2016, 12:28pm
Location: The first garden city

Re: Common Assault

Postby The utility cyclist » 13 Oct 2017, 4:45pm

Good for you, just because they don't have previous doesn't mean this assault should be brushed under the carpet which is exactly what the police are attempting to do.
Ask them if you assaulted them/drove at them in the same manner would they be taking it so lightly!
The police are hateful when it comes to dealing with people on bicycles.
Hope you get a positive outcome, if not make a complaint.

Fruity
Posts: 11
Joined: 17 May 2017, 9:10pm

Re: Common Assault

Postby Fruity » 13 Oct 2017, 4:52pm

To be cautionable, the offence must be admitted to.

jatindersangha
Posts: 118
Joined: 23 Jun 2015, 11:19am

Update

Postby jatindersangha » 18 Oct 2017, 8:33am

Received another response from the police this morning - they've given him a caution for the assault and for the careless driving - which he's accepted. The police say this is a positive outcome and the most appropriate outcome for all involved.

I'll post the videos later - and will be making an official complaint.

--Jatinder

BakfietsUK
Posts: 219
Joined: 4 Jul 2015, 10:35am

Re: Common Assault

Postby BakfietsUK » 18 Oct 2017, 9:09am

A caution will be recorded and the next time the individual comes under scrutiny it will be taken into account. It sounds like a good outcome as it seems you were not physically hurt and an assault charge would be difficult to prosecute. It seems the camera helped out too and gave the Police enough information to take action. Without any evidence like this, it would have probably gone nowhere. Having a caution on your record for assault is not trivial and I really think this outcome is the best you could have hoped for in the circumstances. So if this rider is stopped for anything at all it is likely the officers involved will request any "form" that he has already. As he now has form, if he is stopped for some reason he is going to be under even more scrutiny. Make no mistake, he made a bad move by assaulting you, he may handle it with some bravado, but it means more bother for him in the long run. It may even stop him doing anything like that again. Had it been a traffic offence that they investigated I fear the Police would have not been so willing to pursue it. Getting the Police to investigate it as an assault is a result in it's self.

The amount of effort that you went to in order to get this outcome seems to indicate a certain amount of inertia amongst the Police. It almost seems they are reluctant to do anything which would result in satisfaction for you as a victim of crime. This is something I have noticed in my own experience and I find it deeply unfortunate to have to resort to so much time and energy to get an agreeable outcome. Even when Police resources were far more widespread, getting them to actually listen was never easy. They just did not seem to sense the "victimhood" of the situation. Nowadays I can only imagine it being more difficult as officer numbers are fewer. My only hope in this is for the a real culture shift away from trivialising real crime by labelling it as a traffic offence.

jatindersangha
Posts: 118
Joined: 23 Jun 2015, 11:19am

Re: Common Assault

Postby jatindersangha » 18 Oct 2017, 9:22am

I'm OK with the caution for assault - as sentences generally reflect "actual harm" rather than "potential harm" - and although I was shaken up by the incident, I was unhurt.

However, this was a clear case of a dangerously close pass and IMO he should also have been charged with dangerous/careless driving - a fine, points on his licence etc.

--Jatinder

softlips
Posts: 529
Joined: 12 Dec 2016, 8:51pm

Re: Common Assault

Postby softlips » 18 Oct 2017, 2:39pm

With such clear evidence I'd have liked him to have been prosecuted to be honest. Then his mates would have heard about it and made sure they gave a wide birth themselves in future instead of probably smirking about it. This is how it became unacceptable to drink drive - everyone heard about acquaintances being prosecuted and it became socially immoral to drink and drive.

I had someone throw a liquid over me while driving. The Police said it was assault but nothing without evidence. I wasn't bothered about a prosecution but just wanted them to have a word with the driver.

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

Re: Common Assault

Postby thirdcrank » 18 Oct 2017, 6:24pm

For a formal caution, the evidence has to be sufficient for a prosecution: it's an official disposal, not short cut to conclude a case.

While a complainant's views are relevant, they are by no means over-riding. Without a lot of research I can't point to current guidelines the decision is made in accordance with them and not a thumbs up or down from a person affected.

jatindersangha
Posts: 118
Joined: 23 Jun 2015, 11:19am

Re: Common Assault

Postby jatindersangha » 18 Oct 2017, 10:42pm


jatindersangha
Posts: 118
Joined: 23 Jun 2015, 11:19am

Re: Common Assault

Postby jatindersangha » 19 Oct 2017, 8:42am

thirdcrank wrote:For a formal caution, the evidence has to be sufficient for a prosecution: it's an official disposal, not short cut to conclude a case.

...


Hi TC, I understand what you're saying, but if there's enough evidence for a prosecution and the offender has admitted it ... then if he went to court -
the sentencing guidelines say a minimum of 3 points on his licence and a fine.

Given that he would probably have received a caution (or a community resolution) for the assault only - then it seems to me that he's received nothing additional for the careless driving aspect.

Points on his licence and (say) 3 years of increased insurance premiums would be an annual reminder of the error of his ways.

--Jatinder

hjd10
Posts: 227
Joined: 25 Feb 2010, 9:43pm
Location: Originally from Lancashire but now in Lincolnshire

Re: Common Assault

Postby hjd10 » 19 Oct 2017, 8:55am

jatindersangha wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:For a formal caution, the evidence has to be sufficient for a prosecution: it's an official disposal, not short cut to conclude a case.

...


Hi TC, I understand what you're saying, but if there's enough evidence for a prosecution and the offender has admitted it ... then if he went to court -
the sentencing guidelines say a minimum of 3 points on his licence and a fine.

Given that he would probably have received a caution (or a community resolution) for the assault only - then it seems to me that he's received nothing additional for the careless driving aspect.

Points on his licence and (say) 3 years of increased insurance premiums would be an annual reminder of the error of his ways.

--Jatinder


Jatinder,

I'm interested what the riders reasoning was for doing what he did? Do you think that he thinks that you have taken the lane?

Regards,

jatindersangha
Posts: 118
Joined: 23 Jun 2015, 11:19am

Re: Common Assault

Postby jatindersangha » 19 Oct 2017, 9:37am

hjd10 wrote:Jatinder,

I'm interested what the riders reasoning was for doing what he did? Do you think that he thinks that you have taken the lane?

Regards,



I was definitely taking the lane at that point. There are hedges to my left and an S-bend in the road - so I always move out around there for 3 reasons:

1. As motorists cannot really see around the bend, then they may think twice about overtaking if they have to use the oncoming lane.

2. If someone comes around the bend behind me at speed, then they'll see me sooner than if I was closer to the left.

3. When the road straightens out, it narrows and if I'm not away from the left then I run the risk of being hidden by the hedges.


This is what I think happened:
1. The moped rider catches up with me as we approach the bend. He wants to overtake but is reluctant due to the bend.
2. He suddenly sees a car approaching in the oncoming lane and so moves about 1 metre away from the central white lines. (Something to do with the lanes being a bit narrow and a bend in the road which you can't really see round...)

3. He still wants to overtake but
a) was frightened by the oncoming car, so stupidly, keeps his line and to avoid crashing into me - instead of slowing down or moving to the right, he pushes me away. OR
b) having been thwarted in his attempt to overtake, decided to teach me a lesson, so came as close as he dared before attempting to either push me off or push me to where he thought I ought to be riding.

The video shows quite clearly that when overtaking, he could easily have moved 50cm or more towards the central white line, without crossing it. He'd have then skirted past me, quite possibly giving me a fright but that's all.

The video shows quite clearly that he could easily have crossed the white lines when overtaking (although there was a car approaching, it was sufficiently far away to be safe).

His "self-defence" argument was that he thought I was going to ride into him or force him to ride on the white lines - which could cause him to fall off.

Personally, I think that's all [rude word removed] and he intended to teach me a lesson for being in his way.

--Jatinder

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

Re: Common Assault

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Oct 2017, 9:40am

jatindersangha wrote: ... Hi TC, I understand what you're saying, but if there's enough evidence for a prosecution and the offender has admitted it ... then if he went to court -
the sentencing guidelines say a minimum of 3 points on his licence and a fine.

Given that he would probably have received a caution (or a community resolution) for the assault only - then it seems to me that he's received nothing additional for the careless driving aspect.

Points on his licence and (say) 3 years of increased insurance premiums would be an annual reminder of the error of his ways.

--Jatinder


I think the first good thing is that the police have investigated this. When you first contacted them, the operator appears not to have fobbed you off - the fate of so many other posters - and has recognised that this was an assault rather than a traffic accident. It seems as though it's been dealt with on that basis. FWIW, I'm surprised that he's been cautioned for two offences from one action. Had I been overseeing this, it would have been one or the other and I'd have seen careless driving as second best to the assault. (I'm not saying somebody cannot be dealt with for several offences but I do say it needs to be one or the other here.) Remember, had this been a crash, unless you were quite badly injured, the police would have paid little interest. (I'm not saying that's right but it is how it is.) When I was a lad and common assault was an offence contrary to s 42 of the Offences Against the person Act, the police could not by law take proceedings under that section and only the victim could institute a prosecution. That's changed and much more priority is given to violence (and proportionately less to "traffic." C'est la vie.