What is thought to have been the UK’s first private prosecution for dangerous driving has ended with the motorist being acquitted of all charges. Former qualified driving instructor Aslan Kayardi had been accused of passing cyclist Martin Porter QC an arm’s length away while driving at 50mph in a 30mph zone.
Porter, who brought the case with the support of CTC’s Cyclists’ Defence Fund, said afterwards: “Whilst I, of course, respect the verdict of the jury, I believe it is only right that Mr Kayardi was required to justify his driving before a court of law.”
The incident, which took place during rush hour on the A315 Hounslow to Staines road in February 2015, was captured on a camera attached to Porter’s handlebars. Based on the footage and data from his Garmin bike computer, consultant accident investigator Paul Croft calculated Kayardi’s speed to have been 51-57mph in what was a 30mph zone. He also estimated that the Audi was just 60-80cm away as it passed.
Porter reported the incident to the Metropolitan Police Service, but they declined to refer it to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Writing on his blog, Porter said:
“I respect the rule of law and entirely accept that some of the material that I had hoped may go before a jury could not do so for legal reasons. I also have to accept the verdict of the jury that Mr Kayardi’s driving has not been proved to fall below the standard of a competent and careful driver. Every defendant is entitled to the benefit of any doubt and my assessment of his driving has to bow to that of the jury.”
He also said that he was reluctant to publish the video of the incident, explaining: “There is clearly a risk that it will be held up as driving that has been found to be perfectly acceptable.”
Roger Geffen, Policy Director at CTC and Trustee of the Cyclists’ Defence Fund said:
“CDF is very disappointed to learn the result of this case, in which the jury rejected even the camera and expert evidence of speeding.
“Despite the public being hugely supportive of more cycling, this verdict highlights the huge challenge we face in raising driver awareness of the need to respect the safety of cyclists and other vulnerable road users.
“Drivers need to appreciate that a cyclist isn’t simply an anonymous being, but somebody’s child, sibling, parent or grandparent.
“With the Government now committed to a review of driving offences and penalties, following pressure from CTC’s Road Justice campaign, CDF will continue to fight cases which can either highlight or better still correct failings of road traffic law and its enforcement.”