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Bike rider says he was nearly strangled by taxi driver, but ends up in court himself

A London cyclist who became involved in an altercation with a taxi driver who cut across him has issued an urgent appeal for witnesses after learning that despite being almost strangled with a scarf by the taxi driver, it is he who will appear in court next week facing assault charges.

The incident took place on March 9th and the cyclist, Jared Kelly, faces a legal bill running into thousands of pounds even if he is found not guilty of assault when his case goes to court next week.

Jared, who has had to put plans to concentrate on writing aside to concentrate on fighting the charges, is understandably desperate to trace anyone who may have seen the incident, and in particular a passer-by who saw what happened but whose details apparently were not recorded by the police.

We’ll let Jared take up the story, which you can find on a blog he has set up here:

“I created this blog to reach out to the twitterverse in the hope that one of you, or someone you know, may have witnessed the incident below that led to me being charged by the CPS. If there is someone you believe might have been in the area at the time, then I urge you to forward this to them. Thank you very much for reading.

“On Tuesday March 9th at around 4-5pm, I was cycling west along Oxford Street, London, near Dean Street, when a taxi suddenly swerved across the front of me to pick up a fare and we collided. Following a brief verbal exchange, the taxi driver grabbed the scarf around my neck and strangled me until I was unconscious. When I regained consciousness the police and ambulance were on the scene.

“What seemed an open and shut case in my favour has gone horribly wrong in light of the appalling fact that the subsequent investigation failed to retrieve CCTV footage before it was erased and also failed to secure the details of a witness who saw the entire incident, and who looked after me throughout and assured me and the police he would be my witness. The police now have no record of his details.

“The taxi driver's defence is that I attacked him. A passenger in the car behind saw a scuffle and believes he may have seen a singular punch thrown, although crucially states he didn't see a punch connect (there certainly was a scuffle, I was having the life strangled out of me at the time) and on that basis, regardless of damning photographic evidence that shows vicious swollen bruising around my neck plus a police doctor's report that indicates the same, because I have no witness or CCTV evidence to corroborate my story, the CPS has taken the taxi driver's version of events and charged me with assault.

“In a week's time I will enter a plea of not guilty. My solicitor has warned me that legal costs could reach £5,000, and that's just if the CPS find me not guilty. [road.cc note – the question of guilt is decided by the court, not the CPS, but Jared’s point remains the same] I left employment just two months ago having finally saved enough money to focus on writing full-time, and was supposed to leave the country this week on a long-planned research trip, which now looks to be on hold indefinitely.

“This is a huge kick in the teeth to everything I have worked towards and leaves me on the brink of a criminal record for a crime I did not commit, while the person who was extremely violent towards me hasn't even been cautioned. Somewhere out there in this wonderful London town is surely a cyclist, motorist or pedestrian who was passing on that day and witnessed an enraged taxi driver strangling me. If so, I really hope you are reading this.

“I have canvassed all shops in the area for witnesses and private CCTV and return this week to speak to opposite shifts and put up notices. I have queried Westminster CCTV, along with their Traffic Wardens & Refuse Collectors who were working in the area at that time, and also queried London Transport about static and vehicle cameras. I am aiming to get ads and letters in the London press this week.

“Someone out there must have seen something. The sooner I find a witness the sooner I can bring an end to this unfairness and escalating costs.

Anyone who has any information is asked to contact Jared as a matter of urgency on cyclewitness [at] gmail.com.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

15 comments

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mrchrispy [480 posts] 6 years ago
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best of luck fella, sounds like a cluster f**k in the making. I hope you get it sorted.

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timlennon [210 posts] 6 years ago
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Even if you hit this guy, does that justify throttling you unconscious? There seems a very bizarre bit of assessment going on here by the CPS. Like we should be particularly surprised, I suppose.

Best of luck with it, though.

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alotronic [487 posts] 6 years ago
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I know Jared a bit, we move in the same (virtual) circles. He's very funny, warm and is a good guy. The idea that he would throw the first punch is laughable.

Clearly something has gone wrong with how the CPS have handled this case, the Taxi driver looks like he has got in first to avoid a rather serious assault charge. Kinda make me a bit ill thinking about what happened and how badly something like this can go wrong.

There but for the grace etc

A

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wilhay [71 posts] 6 years ago
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Best of luck. I hope you win, claim back costs and damages!!

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David French [50 posts] 6 years ago
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 39 So what's up with all these angry taxi drivers?

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workhard [397 posts] 6 years ago
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Hope he gets his complaint into the IPCC sharpish.

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Cervelo12 [78 posts] 6 years ago
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a cyclist wearing a scarf- a courier possibly? explains alot.

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OldRidgeback [2658 posts] 6 years ago
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Sounds like the cab driver got in first for a good reason. He knows that if the cyclist had placed an assault charge and the driver was found guilty this would lose him his black cab licence - assault/road rage incidents are a big no no for black cab drivers. It is ridiculous that the CPS has allows this case against the cyclist to go this far given that the evidence of the near fatal strangling of the cyclist is so evident. In self defence you are allowed to use 'reasonable force' but making someone go unconscious goes beyond that by several degrees.

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MalcolmBinns [115 posts] 6 years ago
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@Jared: Best of luck with getting this sorted

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scotter [55 posts] 6 years ago
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contact the courts for advice/assistance.
They are used to Police 'losing' evidence, though to be fair sometimes they do it to assist someone they perceive to have been fitted up.
It may be worth filing a counter charge, though this has probably been anticipated, hence the 'disappearance' of CCTV etc. (cabbies are a tight bunch and generally better connected than cyclists- Boris being a rare exception... might be worth calling his office!)
As Winnie would say "never give up, never give up, never give up!"

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scotter [55 posts] 6 years ago
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contact the courts for advice/assistance.
They are used to Police 'losing' evidence, though to be fair sometimes they do it to assist someone they perceive to have been fitted up.
It may be worth filing a counter charge, though this has probably been anticipated, hence the 'disappearance' of CCTV etc. (cabbies are a tight bunch and generally better connected than cyclists- Boris being a rare exception... might be worth calling his office!)
As Winnie would say "never give up, never give up, never give up!"

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Tom Amos [236 posts] 6 years ago
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Anyone who has ever cycled in London will recognise that black cab drivers are some of the most difficult drivers to deal with. Interestingly, they are the first to criticise other driver's mistakes yet drive as if there are no rules for cabbies.

I once was cycling towards Tower Bridge in a cycle lane when a cabbie decided it would be a good idea to manoeuvre round the waiting traffic and drive into me in the cycle lane. I asked him politely why he did what he did and he just gave cocky answers. There was no apology or admission that he had made a mistake. This is just one of numerous incidents I have experienced.

One of the skills you learn whilst cycling in London is that black cab drivers are likely to pull over at any moment and perform the strangest manoeuvres. Never get into an argument with them though because if the police are called, they are highly likely to take the side of the police as they have done here. I speculate but many of them are masons as are the police.

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Simon_MacMichael [2466 posts] 6 years ago
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Tom Amos wrote:

I speculate but many of them are masons as are the police.

I'm not usually a member of the tinfoil hat brigade, but I once had a Sunday morning round of golf where the playing partners the club gave me were a cabbie and a copper who chatted merrily away about some freemason golfing weekend they were both going on (presumably has esoteric rules such as replacing divots with a trowel or something).

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Tom Amos [236 posts] 6 years ago
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Simon,

It might be worth Jared's while asking both the cabbie and the arresting officer if they are masons and whether they identified each other as such on the day.

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skippy [411 posts] 5 years ago
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Stitching up the victim in this way may save the cabbie his licanse but even the CPS has to have some consciense ?

Oh wait , wasn't that the org. that denied Thecyclingsilk.blogspot help to prosecute a driver that threatened to kill him as recorded on a helmet camera ?

Evidence to the CPS is not relevant if it doesn't suit them so having photos of an injury is not admissable because it causes them incinvenience !

To the CPS evidence is of no interest .