London cyclist strangled by taxi driver cleared of assault

"Kafka-esque nightmare" over as court praises witnesses who backed bike rider's version of events

by Simon_MacMichael   October 5, 2010  

Gavel

A bike rider charged with assaulting a taxi driver in an incident which left the cyclist himself unconscious after the cabbie apparently strangled him with his own scarf has walked free from court after magistrates said the driver’s evidence was “not credible.”

As reported on road.cc in June, Jared Kelly, aged 39, issued an appeal via the London Cyclist blog for witnesses to the incident, which took place in March this year on London’s Oxford Street, to help him in his defence. Word of his predicament quickly spread via cycling websites and Twitter, and was also picked up by the Evening Standard.

Mr Kelly had been riding along Oxford Street, close to the junction with Dean Street, when a black cab cut in front of him, making him collide with the rear of the taxi and causing him to fall of his bike.

In the subsequent heated exchange between the cyclist and the taxi driver, the latter took hold of Mr Kelly’s scarf and strangled him, causing him to lose consciousness and leaving red marks around his neck.

According to one eyewitness, it had been Mr Kelly who had attacked the cab driver, but that witness was unable to attend the hearing at South Western Magistrates’ Court due to being out of the country, and attempts by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to have the case adjourned were rejected.

Instead, the Evening Standard reports, Mr Kelly produced two witnesses, Lee Sattaur, manager at H&M in Oxford Street and Matthew Gowan, a student at Westminster University, who supported his version of events, who were described as “Good Samaritans" for having stepped forward.

"What has finally happened has been utterly remarkable," Mr Kelly told the newspaper. "It’s been fantastic. I couldn’t have done this a year ago or 18 months ago. Everything fell into place."

He described his ordeal as a "Kafka-esque nightmare," saying, "It was all completely surreal. I was strangled until I was unconscious on Oxford Street and the result was I was handcuffed and arrested."

Mr Gowan had been sent away by a policeman as he sought to speak to Mr Kelly following the incident, with the cyclist saying: "He was so moved by what he saw on the day that he got on a bus and wrote pages and pages of notes to remind him," Mr Kelly said.

"Then the following day he went into the police station in Regent Street and reported it. The judge made a special mention about his extraordinary public service."

A CPS spokeswoman admitted to the Evening Standard that the court "didn’t find the victim’s evidence credible".
 

9 user comments

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Ok, so the innocent party has been found innocent. Will the guilty party now be charged with a driving offence and assault or even attempted murder?

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
5th October 2010 - 14:53

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How did this even get to court with someone who was clearly the wrong man in the dock?

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
5th October 2010 - 14:58

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So pleased to read this for Jared's sake.

I cycle every day in London and I cannot begin to describe to you how hostile London Black Cab drivers are. They have no respect for cyclists whatsoever.

If Boris really wants to get cycling moving in London, abolishing the Black Cab trade would be a good start.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
5th October 2010 - 16:15

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simonmb wrote:
How did this even get to court with someone who was clearly the wrong man in the dock?

Well in cases like this where its one persons word against another then taking it to court is the right thing to do, you have to remember that the taxi driver had a 'witness' also. If a cyclist crashed into your car and started having a go at you (this happens, not all cyclists ar saints!) and you had to defend yourself, then youd probably be glad if the judicial system helped you out.

Im glad the guy got it sorted, but its only obvious he was in the right by the rather conspicuous absence of the Taxi drivers witness!

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [410 posts]
5th October 2010 - 16:38

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And looking at the guy's blog, it sounds like the police officer involved should get a disciplinary hearing: http://dlvr.it/6XZTN

Frankly, if all he says is true, it's a truly shameful incident from cabbie and copper.

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [226 posts]
5th October 2010 - 16:50

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I think Jared was unfortunate enough to get a series of ar**holes where even one decent person (taxi driver, policeman, so called witness) would have meant this would have never made court. Yes there is a place for impartiality but shouldn't the police be bringing the taxi driver up for false reporting/waste of time etc? He cycnically knew that he had to get in first with a claim so he could escape justice - obviously a practiced thug who took advantage of the law and used it to cover himself. Beware - and buy a helmet cam Smile

alotronic's picture

posted by alotronic [247 posts]
5th October 2010 - 17:35

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Questions do have to be asked about the cop's competence. If you see someone being strangled, then surely common sense suggests the person is the victim. The cop also dismissed the person whol ultimately was the witness for the defence of the victim. Now I know driving a car in London is stressful and I'm sure driving a cab is worse, but anyone who gives vent to their anger in such a manner is clearly not suited to the job. That's without even mentioning the assault, possible attempted murder, driving offence and, lest we forget, perjury.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
5th October 2010 - 22:23

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I very glad this case ended in the right result. I just can't believe the CPS actually took it to court.
With the Police handeling of the witnesses and the strange inability to get the CCTV footage (on one of the most camera covered streets in London!) I hope he complains to the IPCC.

I'd also recomend a helmet cam. When you can record exactly what happened then you don't have to rely so much on finding witnesses.

posted by thereverent [297 posts]
6th October 2010 - 9:40

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Think I'd turn off my helmetcam if a cabbie attacked me...and back on again when I ride off Smile

Just kidding but I can't believe this went to court and the cabbie was telling lies to get the cyclist in trouble.

Glad his witnesses got him off and now the cabbie can be taken for GBH.

I like my bike but it needs a hidden 25cc motor Smile

Fish_n_Chips's picture

posted by Fish_n_Chips [325 posts]
6th October 2010 - 14:14

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