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Cyclist who broke motorist’s jaw cleared of assault – because of driver’s close pass

Magistrate says driver overtaking with just 20cm space “deprived the defendant of the power of self-control”

A cyclist who punched a motorist has been cleared of assault, with the magistrate trying the case saying that the driver’s close pass on the rider had “deprived the defendant of the power of self-control.”

David File, aged 47, had pleaded not guilty to assaulting Graeme Gibb, 77, in a car park in Queensland’s Gold Coast in August last year, reports Mail Online.

The court was shown video footage which showed Mr Gibb, driving a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, overtaking Mr File and the friend with whom he was driving with just 20cm to spare.

Under Queensland law, he should have given the cyclists at least 1 metre of room on the road where it happened.

The driver then stopped in a hotel car park, where he confronted the riders, shouting “What's the matter with you pricks?”

Mr File replied, “You nearly hit me,” then punched the motorist, breaking his jaw.

He then grabbed the car keys and threw them. They landed on the roof of a nearby off-licence.

Mr File turned himself into police several days after the incident after a photo of him went viral, and was charged with serious assault.

Referring to the close pass on the cyclists, Magistrate Kerry Magee said that she was “satisfied that that unlawful act frightened, alarmed and unnerved” Mr File.  

“I find that this conduct deprived the defendant of the power of self-control.

“I accept that he was significantly shaken as a result when minutes later he has sought to confront” the driver, whom she said had “demonstrated no insight at all into the dangerousness of his behaviour.”

Mr File’s lawyer, Troy Smith, said after the hearing: “We knew from the outset this was a matter that had to be contested to clear Mr File's name.

“We knew from the outset that he was innocent. Mr File can now move on with his life and put this all behind them,” he added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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