Judge sends "clear message" as Norfolk man jailed for 10 months for causing GBH to cyclist

Court hears aggressor harboured grudge against bike riders prior to random attack on Audax participant

by Simon_MacMichael   June 27, 2014  

Justice (Lonpicman, Wikimedia Commons)

A Norfolk man who harboured a grudge against cyclists has been jailed for 10 months for causing grievous bodily harm after shoulder-barging a rider taking part in an Audax event, the victim suffering a fractured hip. The judge in the case said that the sentence was “a clear message” that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

Cyclist Chris Brown, aged 61 and from Aylsham, spent two days in hospital after his hip was fractured when 52-year-old Duncan Smith attacked him on 7 December last year, reports the Eastern Daily Press.

During his sentencing hearing at Norwich Crown Court yesterday, it was revealed that Smith, who had earlier pleaded guilty to the charge, nursed a grudge against cyclists after spending £460 to repair his car’s wing mirror which had been damaged by a bike rider.

On the day he attacked Mr Brown, Smith said his wing mirror had once again been struck by a cyclist, which was playing on his mind as he returned to his home in Lamas and discovered riders in the Audax event passing by.

The court heard that he walked into the road and tried to stop riders to ask which club they were members of. It was told that although he didn’t intend to push Mr Brown from his bike on purpose, he was reckless as to the results of his actions.

The victim needed an operation on his hip, had to take time off work and spent three months getting around with the aid of crutches. He cannot now cycle as much as he used to, has problems sleeping, and it is thought that the fracture to his hip may never fully repair.

Sentencing Smith, Judge Stephen Holt told him: “A clear message must go out that behaviour of this type on a public highway that results in serious injury to an innocent person must lead to immediate custody.”

Representing Smith, Michael Clare said his client had written to Mr Brown to apologise, adding, “He is genuinely remorseful. He told me he was not an unreasonable person but had obviously got it wrong this time.”

Following the hearing, Mr Brown said he remained mystified at the “randomness of the attack.”

He added: “He had been dancing in the middle of the road, acting really strangely, with cyclists going either side of him. As I went to go by him he just shoulder-charged me.”

25 user comments

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I hold a grudge against motorists but don't go around attacking them.

@rich22222

posted by rich22222 [109 posts]
27th June 2014 - 13:27

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Of course had he been in his car, he would have avoided gaol time.

I am not sure 10 months is a clear message. If we compare this with the victim of this scene who spent 3 months unable to work and move about, he has had at least 6 months of troubled sleep and the fracture may never repair, meaning that his issues sleeping and being unable to cycle the same long distances are with him until he dies, which I am sure is much more than a measley 10 months.

A clear message would have been a maximum 5 year sentence.

posted by Wolfshade [101 posts]
27th June 2014 - 14:00

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Well presumably the doors are open for a civil suit for injury compensation now. Does the perpetrator have third party insurance that would cover him against assault....he'll be lucky to still have a house at the end of this.

posted by alexb [48 posts]
27th June 2014 - 15:05

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Michael Clare wrote:

“He is genuinely remorseful. He told me he was not an unreasonable person but had obviously got it wrong this time.”

You lying bullshitter twunt. Or, to use the technical term, lawyer. I'm so sick of the likes of you. Aye, right, your client is a perfectly reasonable person and only this one time, through no fault of his own, got "it" wrong.

If the culprit were at least honest about it, outright stating his prejudices and bizarre justifications for doing what he has done, then there would be an avenue for a decent judge to administrator appropriate measures to educate this pathetic individual.

But yeah, nope ... we're playing along and are going with the "Aww poor you, let's be lenient with you and you promise us not to do it again" approach. Inevitably setting the next cyclist up for an even more rage fuelled encounter with that idiot who's now got an even bigger axe to grind.

Sorry, but this isn't working. Ten months? Try ten years. That will send “a clear message”, if that is indeed what the judge wanted to do.

Work harder. Buy a tank.

userfriendly's picture

posted by userfriendly [285 posts]
27th June 2014 - 15:21

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userfriendly wrote:
Michael Clare wrote:

Sorry, but this isn't working. Ten months? Try ten years. That will send “a clear message”, if that is indeed what the judge wanted to do.

Tough one, 10 months is probably in line with what someone would get if they punched a passer by unprovoked on a Saturday night out.
Also he pleaded guilty so would have gained an automatic reduction in his sentence

posted by RedfishUK [48 posts]
27th June 2014 - 15:37

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I wonder about what type of driving the guy had displayed as his wing mirror seems to be very accident prone?

Driving very close, maybe?

And as Wolfshade said, the sentence for the victim is much more than 10 months, it's possibly a lifetime of reduced physical health.

posted by jacknorell [343 posts]
27th June 2014 - 15:41

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Pathetic sentence if you ask me, the poor lad who had his hip broken will no doubt be in agony for years to come once arthritis sets in, which is inevitable at his age.

Yet again the courts let us down.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2710 posts]
27th June 2014 - 16:02

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The irony is that he got done for GBH because he got out and had a go. If he had used his car as a weapon to run the lad off the road he probably would have got away with a driving offence.

posted by MKultra [212 posts]
27th June 2014 - 16:30

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cyclist hit wing mirror, or driver couldn't be arsed to overtake and hit cyclist with wing mirror?

I wonder which Is true?

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posted by mrmo [1074 posts]
27th June 2014 - 16:48

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Sound like the aggressor picked his mark, lots of young fit looking cyclists pass him then he spots a 60 odd year old cyclist and thinks easy prey, total shit bag.

Chadders x

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posted by chadders [73 posts]
27th June 2014 - 18:00

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I can personally vouch for the aggression shown towards cyclists in the Norfolk region being a born and bred bumpkin.. Considering the locale and the generally laid back atmosphere that our part of the country displays it's a wonder there aren't considerably more cases like this. just the other day I was harangued by a motorist after quite legitimately passing him kerbside over a mini roundabout which resulted in him scaring the crap out of me by leaning on his horn, he then proceeded overtake me at speed to pull as tightly into the kerb as possible to prevent me passing him again at the next mini roundabout.. Needless to say we had words none of them pleasant..

posted by Smash [3 posts]
27th June 2014 - 21:03

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Let's hope he has a really dreadful time in prison

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posted by Housecathst [49 posts]
27th June 2014 - 21:27

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Smash wrote:
I can personally vouch for the aggression shown towards cyclists in the Norfolk region....../quote]
[[[[[ My wife and I did a week's touring in Norfolk some years ago, and I must say the drivers we encountered there were amazingly considerate and friendly, gently tooting before passing us, and offering a cheery wave as they did so. Oh no....I just remembered! It was Suffolk.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [277 posts]
27th June 2014 - 22:50

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MKultra wrote:
The irony is that he got done for GBH because he got out and had a go. If he had used his car as a weapon to run the lad off the road he probably would have got away without a driving offence.

corrected that for you inline with the incredible leniency our fine courts show towards bad drivers.

posted by leqin [96 posts]
28th June 2014 - 7:18

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I mean come on, you're minding your own business and someone does this to you, and the perpetrator only get's 10 months?

These injuries are life changing for anyone (OK we are not talking loss of limbs or a faculty), but for a cyclist more so, on account of the active lifestyle. I get a little crazy if I don't go cycling every so often, and if something was preventing me like an injury that was caused by someone's grievous intent, it would be hard to come to terms with to say the least.

posted by ronin [129 posts]
28th June 2014 - 7:38

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460 pounds seems excessive for a bit of glass - maybe he should just drive a cheaper car, and take more care overtaking and parking (or better, stop driving, since he's clearly not fit to drive). As for his lawyer's pathetic attempt to defend him - wouldn't it be nice if they got punished for being lying toerags as well.

posted by oldstrath [146 posts]
28th June 2014 - 9:31

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Any kind of jail term (and associated criminal record) has a dramatic impact on the perp. He would have been desperately trying to avoid a custodial. I think it's a good outcome.

posted by choddo [11 posts]
28th June 2014 - 11:56

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He should have stayed in the car; I sincerely doubt he'd have received a custodial sentence f he'd driven into his victim instead of shouldering him.

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posted by PJ McNally [586 posts]
28th June 2014 - 12:07

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10 months is a joke. He clearly has issues which made his act premeditated. 5 years in prison would be more appropriate.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [283 posts]
28th June 2014 - 13:38

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Clear message? That sentence is a joke. Sounds like the conviction is not for GBH with intent but for the lesser GBH offence which carries the same sentence as ABH.... but still, that should of been a 3 year sentence at least. We must always take into account that unless its Murder the offender will always only serve half their sentence and a lot of times much less than half. This guy will be out in less than 5 months.

10 months is an insult to the victim and reinforces to us all that the British Justice System is a fucking disgrace.

posted by Critchio [106 posts]
28th June 2014 - 19:35

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Looking at the guidelines this is a little bit low but not horrendously so. With a starting point of 18 months he would have got 1/3 off for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity so would have been looking at a year or so.

In many respects it is amazing he wasn't given a suspended sentence so at least that is something.

Hope the rider involved makes a better than expected recovery.

posted by Whitters1986 [5 posts]
28th June 2014 - 23:07

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choddo wrote:
Any kind of jail term (and associated criminal record) has a dramatic impact on the perp. He would have been desperately trying to avoid a custodial. I think it's a good outcome.

Shame he didn't try a bit more desperately to avoid doing serious harm to an innocent person. I doubt the impact on him will be as severe as the impact on his victim.

posted by oldstrath [146 posts]
29th June 2014 - 6:56

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oldstrath wrote:
460 pounds seems excessive for a bit of glass - maybe he should just drive a cheaper car....

[[[[[ I got a perfectly good wing-mirror for £20....methinks the geezer's being economical with the truth, to the tune of probably £400.
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [277 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 19:59

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Depends what sort of mirror it is. Electrically adjusted, folding heated mirrors plus fitting your looking at about £400 at a main dealer.

posted by EnglishmanAbroad [5 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 21:26

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EnglishmanAbroad wrote:
Depends what sort of mirror it is. Electrically adjusted, folding heated mirrors plus fitting your looking at about £400 at a main dealer.

That's a first world problem if ever I heard one.

posted by drfabulous0 [298 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 21:57

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