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Video: Sir Ian McKellen’s agent cleared of assaulting CyclingMikey

Jury acquits Paul Lyon-Maris of charges relating to incident at Regent’s Park’s ‘Gandalf Corner’

A jury has acquitted a theatrical agent whose clients include Lord of the Rings star Sir Ian McKellen of assault following an incident last year in which he drove at Mike van Erp – known on social media as CyclingMikey – and carried him on the bonnet of his Range Rover for around 20 metres.

The incident happened at a junction on the Outer Circle in London’s Regent’s Park that has earned the nickname ‘Gandalf Corner’ due to road safety campaigner van Erp stepping into the carriageway to stop motorists who ignore a bollard with a keep left arrow on it and drive on the wrong side of the road to try and get ahead of queueing traffic.

On the morning of 9 September last year, van Erp was positioned at that location with a helmet camera and a selfie-stick when Paul Lyon-Maris, aged 60, attempted to drive round the bollard in his Range Rover on the wrong side of the road.

> Sir Ian McKellen’s agent drove with CyclingMikey on Range Rover bonnet during ‘Gandalf Corner’ stand-off, court hears

Video shown in court, and now uploaded to CyclingMikey’s YouTube channel, shows Lyon-Maris claiming that he was running late for a doctor’s appointment, although he admitted during the trial that it was in fact an appointment with a physiotherapist.

James Dean, prosecuting, had told the court that the theatrical agent had “used his car as a weapon” during the incident, driving it at van Erp who ended up on the bonnet.

"The car continued, still on the wrong side of the road, towards the junction and turned right on the Outer Circle where it stopped around 20 yards (18 metres) to the left with Mr van Erp on the bonnet,” the prosecutor explained.

Lyon-Maris had admitted at an earlier magistrates’ court hearing to driving the wrong side of the keep left sign, but insisted that van Erp “threw himself on my bonnet.”

The jury took just under four hours to find the driver not guilty of dangerous driving and common assault, returning its verdict at lunchtime today.

The judge in the case, Recorder Jonathan Bellamy, said after the verdict had been returned: “I wish Mr Lyon-Maris luck in his profession and elsewhere.”

During this week’s trial, he told the court that while he acknowledged that it was “risky” to step out in front of motor vehicles, “I look at it in the same way as taking the keys off a drink driver – I want to stop the immediate harm.”

On his profile on Twitter, van Erp – who was a teenager when his father was killed by a drunk driver – says that he has “reported 1,000 drivers for 800 successful prosecutions in the last four years or so.”

> "Tired of road crime": CyclingMikey on episode 16 of the Podcast, plus how to make the most of your lunch break

He has more than 90,000 followers on YouTube, where his videos have amassed in excess of 47 million views in aggregate.

High-profile celebrities he has caught breaking the law on camera include the former world champion boxer Chris Eubank, and film director, Guy Ritchie.

One unsuccessful prosecution came earlier this year, however, when the Crown Prosecution Service decided at the last moment to drop a charge against former Chelsea and England footballer Frank Lampard, who now manages Everton, relating to using a handheld mobile phone while driving.

Writing on Twitter today after he had been unofficially told of the verdicts, van Erp said “I feel sick,” adding that “the video will be up soon enough, then you're welcome to draw your own conclusions.”

Simon joined 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.

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