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Police seeking assailer who could face a jail term for assault

A cyclist has been left with a serious gash in his head after he was shoved off his bike in Essex earlier this month.

The rider was shoved from behind  - it is unclear whether from a vehicle or by someone on foot - and lost control causing him to crash into a tree at around 6.30pm on December 4th.

The unnamed man was treated by two nurses who arrived at the scene in Crooked Mile, Waltham Abbey, but lost a lot of blood and was also cut on his hands and arms.

Investigating officer PC Tom Hardingham said: "I would urge anyone with information to come forward to help us identify the people responsible for this nasty assault."

Anyone with any information should ring PC Hardingham on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Last weekend we reported how police were appealing to find witnesses to a similar but unrelated incident which saw a teenager pushed off his bike by the passenger in a passing car in North Wales last week.

The boy was riding along Pant Hill in Rhos, near Wrexham, at around 7.20pm on Friday December 4th when he was grabbed from a dark coloured hatchback.

He lost his balance and fell off, suffering grazes.

Police are especially keen to speak to a woman who helped the cyclist after his fall.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting crime reference RC15185333.

Sentencing for similar crimes

Paul Kitson, a solicitor for the law firm Slater & Gordon which counts CTC among its clients, has said of this type of assault:

“In my experience as a cycle injury lawyer I have come across examples of cyclists being deliberately pushed off their bikes by passengers from passing cars, motorists attempting to push a cyclist into oncoming traffic and even using their vehicle as a weapon.

"When a pedestrian deliberately pushes a cyclist off a bike this is a criminal act. The appropriate offence depends upon the extent of the injury.”

Writing on the CTC website, he said:

The options are:

1. Common Assault, contrary to section 39 Criminal Justice Act 1988

An offence of Common Assault is committed when a person either assaults another person or commits a battery.

An assault is committed when a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to apprehend the immediate infliction of unlawful force.

A battery is committed when a person intentionally and recklessly applies unlawful force to another.

It is a summary offence, which carries a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.

2. Common Assault or Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)?

In law, the only factors that distinguish Common Assault from Assault occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (contrary to section 47 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861) are the degree of injury that results and the sentence available to the sentencing court.

Injuries

Although any injury that is more than 'transient or trifling' can be classified as actual bodily harm, the appropriate charge will be one of Common Assault where no injury or injuries which are not serious occur.

In determining the seriousness of injury, relevant factors may include, for example, the fact that there has been significant medical intervention and/or permanent effects have resulted. But there may be other factors which are also relevant and these will need to be carefully considered when deciding whether or not the injuries are serious.

It should be borne in mind that Parliament created the offence of Common Assault specifically to cater for those assault cases in which the injuries caused are not serious.

Likely sentence

The offence of Common Assault carries a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment. This will provide the court with adequate sentencing powers in most cases. ABH should generally be charged where the injuries and overall circumstances indicate that the offence merits clearly more than six months' imprisonment and where the prosecution intend to represent that the case is not suitable for summary trial.

3. Grievous Bodily Harm (Wounding and GBH S.20 & S.18 OAPA 1861)

This offence is committed when a person unlawfully and maliciously, with intent to do some grievous bodily harm, or with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of any other person, either wounds another person; or causes grievous bodily harm to another person. It is an indictable only offence, which carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.