A former Premier League footballer who pleaded guilty to assaulting a cyclist in a road rage attack, leaving him with a broken wrist, has been given a suspended sentence but has escaped a driving ban.
Jamaica international defender Nyron Nosworthy, who spent five years at Sunderland and now plays for Championship side Watford, was also ordered by Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court to pay the victim £3,300 in compensation.
Nosworthy, aged 33, was driving in London on 13 August last year when he was involved in a collision with cyclist Joe Minihane at a set of traffic lights on Westminster Bridge Road, reports the Watford Observer.
Last week, he admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, which resulted in Mr Minihane needing a full cast to be put on his arm and facing the prospect of a year's rehabilitation.
Theo Addae, representing the Brixton-born footballer, who was recovering from an Achilles’ tendon injury at the time, recounted how he had been driving to Oxford Circus for an appointment with a physiotherapist.
"He was making his way there, driving down the road, and at traffic lights there was a cyclist intending to go right, but was on the left and cut across the front of Mr Nosworthy's vehicle and a collision occurred."
"He wound down his window to say: 'You cut in front of me,' and the cyclist told him to "F*ck off."
Mr Addae said his client pulled over intending to speak with Mr Nosworthy, who asserted that Nosworthy came up to him in an "aggressive manner."
"At that time verbal abuse was still coming at Mr Nosworthy and he pushed Mr Minihane once only, causing the cyclist to stumble backwards and that stumble caused the injury,” added Mr Addae.
"It was only the unfortunate manner in which the cyclist fell over that caused the injury."
Sentencing him to 42 days’ imprisonment suspended for two years, District Judge Louise Hammond told him: "Road rage offences are regarded by the appeal courts as extremely serious, because of their prevalence on the road and because of the unacceptable nature of them.
"I am of the view that only a custodial sentence is justified, but because of your positive good character, because the injury was not intended and because you pleaded guilty, I'm able to suspend that sentence."
She also accepted a request from not to ban Nosworthy from driving by his lawyer, Theo Addae, who had said: "The impact would be huge i terms of his employment.
"There is a possibility of a loan move. The move will be to the north of the country, and as a result, disqualification would have a huge impact on his employment."
Football players and managers, and the lawyers acting for them, have at times resorted to what to the person in the street may seem unlikely excuses to avoid being banned from driving.
In 2012, Newcastle United defender Danny Simpson dropped a planned appeal against a six-month driving ban. The footballer, now with Queens Park Rangers, had said he was unable to afford a chauffeur, although at the time he was reportedly earning £10,000 a week.
Also in 2012, former Stoke City manager Tony Pulis escaped a driving ban after he claimed that if he were to employ a driver while he himself was disqualified, confidential information such as the club's transfer dealings might be prejudiced.
Pulis had been caught doing 96mph on a stretch of motorway where the speed limit was 60mph.
Citing the business opportunities and jobs that the club's Premier League status brought to the city, his lawyer also argued that "the people of Stoke-on-Trent could suffer if Mr Pulis lost his licence and lost his job."
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.