Tuesday, 5 October 2010

NOT GUILTY!

On Wednesday the 29th September 2010, at the end of what felt like one of the longest days, and years, of my life, I was found not guilty of the charge brought against me by the CPS.

When originally charged at the police station, I was informed there wasn’t any CCTV footage of the incident and also that my witness was a “figment of my imagination.” A grim few days followed and then this unfolded:

I contacted www.londoncyclist.co.uk and asked if they would tweet a witness appeal out to the masses. They subsequently fired my story out to thousands of followers. Thanks to many wonderful souls the story quickly went viral in only a few hours. One of those who read the story was Ross Lydall, Chief News Correspondent at the Evening Standard (@rosslydall).

Ross got in touch and an article was soon published in the Evening Standard. To my amazement, the “figment of my imagination” read that article and contacted me. Not just that, but another witness also read the article and came forward. Both of them witnessed my argument with the taxi driver and saw the taxi driver grab me by my scarf and violently strangle me unconscious.

My witness testified that on three separate occasions he attempted to explain and give his details to the arresting officer but was dismissed each time. This same arresting officer assured me, in his squad car and later at the police station, that he had taken the details of that witness.

Two months later, when that same officer informed me I was being charged for assault, I was horrified to discover the police had no record at all of my witness. My arresting officer denied that he had ever spoken to me about the witness and then suggested the witness was a figment of my imagination.

Not only did that witness exist, but he was so moved by what he had experienced that he wrote detailed notes of the whole incident and the following day went to his local police station to report his grievance and put himself forward as a witness.

For whatever reason, that police station did not forward those details onto the investigation. Thankfully their inaction didn’t prove costly, and his damning evidence and testimony were crucial in proving my innocence. As was the other witness, an Oxford Street shop manager, returning to work at the time, who saw the whole incident. I cannot thank them both enough.

Although obviously a huge personal victory for me, it’s also a wonderful illustration of the phenomenal power of social networking as a tool to empower those of us who don’t have a voice against authority. This simply could not have happened a few years ago. There are now, more than ever, fewer places for the bad people to hide.

Thank you, The Twitter, and huge thanks to all of you who helped share the love.

Jared


34 comments:

  1. Great news Jared, good for you.

    Any charges being brought against the taxi driver, then?

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  2. Fantastic news.
    Do you know if the taxi driver/policeman who denied the witness will be charged?

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  3. It sickens me to think that the police officer and the taxi driver have gotten away with this. Are there any charges or complaints being put against either of them?

    Though I understand you're probably delighted to be done in court. Congratulations on your victory, very glad to know you were cleared.

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  4. This is great news. I was directed to this post via Twitter & it's fantastic to know that a social media outlet to post random thoughts in 140 characters can be used as such a force for good.

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  5. I suggest you now make a complaint against the officer concerned through his/her Professional Standards department and again get the assistance of your witnesses. Don't leave it there or he'll do it again.

    Absolutely shocking.

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  6. Yeah, let's hear about the mad aggressive attempted murderer and the fuckers that forgot how to be police!!

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  7. It's great that you got the outcome you deserved, but this whole case leaves behind some disturbing questions.

    It's not that the police made mistakes - anybody can do that - but they appear to have consciously decided not to investigate information that was given to them in good faith by credible witnesses, and which challenged their initial interpretation of events. It's only through your own diligence and the fact that the 'imaginary' witness came forward that you are not now the victim of a serious miscarriage of justice.

    I hope this isn't the end of the matter.

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  8. I strongly suggest you make a formal complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about the behaviour of the officer who attended the incident. If you or I had done that, we might have found ourselves charged with wasting police time. At the very least he is guilty of dereliction of duty; given that they chose to prosecute on the basis of one person's word against another, despite the evidence supporting your version of events, and given that the police wilfully chose to ignore the prime witness, you might be able to sue to recover the costs of defending the action.

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  9. Make your complaint against the police here:

    https://secure.met.police.uk/complaints/

    If this does not result in *action* against the officer in question, take it to the IPCC http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/

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  10. Indeed - please make a full complaint to the Met, and pursue it: that behaviour is appalling. Frankly, your witness should receive compensation for the time he had wasted by this moron, too.

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  11. You must be over the moon. What a scary tale.

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  12. Dear Jared

    I am very very happy for you. Lady Justice must be pouring cocktails about now.

    I'd like to join everyone else in urging you to make a complaint. I hope very much this story makes it into the mainstream media.

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  13. Hi Jared,

    First of all, I am very pleased indeed to read that you have escaped what was looking like possibly being a horrific miscarriage of justice. When I read your original post here I was naturally appalled, and feared I would never get to hear a happy outcome, so this is excellent to see!

    However, at the very least the taxi-driver should be made to face justice; quite apart from his violent assault, he was apparently content to see you suffer potentially life-changing consequences that he should have faced himself, so I hope you pursue charges against this man. But furthermore, I too would urge you to make a formal complaint against the police officer in question; I don’t see how his behaviour can be viewed as anything less than willful negligence. At best it was dereliction of duty, at worst a deliberate attempt to pervert the course of justice, and that cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. What might have happened as a result of that man’s actions, had you not succeeded in finding witnesses, doesn’t bear thinking about.

    Best of luck with this if you decide to take it further.

    Cheers,
    Ben

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  14. Wow - this must be taken to the "i"PCC.

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  15. Congratulations at beating the system that is supposed to be in place to protect us.

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  16. Great - overdue - result! Congratulations!

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  17. Congratulations on winning justice against the odds Jared however you are obliged to make a formal complaint against the Police to stop anyone else suffering the way you have.

    I had a similar experience with Northumbria Police. A three day trial, a five day retrial and eventually justice at the appeal court.

    I was assisted in compiling my complaint against the Police by Harry and Brian at DST. They are both retired Superintendents who headed up Professional Standards departments at Durham and Cleveland respectively.

    Having these guys in my corner and advising me has been so beneficial because they know the system intimately and how to present the evidence. I'm confident that my complaint will be successful.

    My appeal against Northumbria's PSD report and recommendations is currently with the IPCC and I'm expecting their findings around Christmas.

    You can find Harry and Brian at complaintsagainstpolice.co.uk

    Again, my sincere congratulations!

    All the best,
    Bob Morrison

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  18. Congratulations on being cleared, that is fantastic news!

    I hope you do file complaints against the taxi driver and the police officer, and I hope you are successful with them.

    Whether you decide to or not, all the best for your future cycling

    Ian

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  19. Well done. I was outraged when I first heard about your situation. It's inspiring to know that decent people and the power of the new media can triumph over this kind of criminality and injustice. I hope the real wrongdoers in this case will get what they deserve.
    Best wishes, Rob Owens

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  21. as others have said before me, you really really NEED to file a complaint against the officer for failing outright in his duties and indeed his intent on failing to act is obvious.... am so glad it has turned out well for you in all this.

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  22. VERY glad to hear that the situation has turned round. But justice has not been done.

    The taxi driver must be charged with assault.

    The police must be charged with Perverting the Course of Justice.

    Also, you should habitually use a helmet cam whenever cycling. They are cheap enough now that every cyclist should use them.

    And carry insurance who's cover includes legal fees. I use British Cycling.

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  23. Its scary to think the law is either that inept, just not bothered or has a special relationship with certain members of the public who they have regular contact with. Depressing but at least you got cleared.

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  24. I am a defence lawyer, I love to hear things like this. Rather points to this being the tip of an iceberg; I can say that police routinely fail to fully investigate "minor" crime, being content to take one version of events, charge you and then be satisfied that the rest can be sorted out at trial.
    If you wish to take fuller action against the police, contact a specialist lawyer. I can recommend Jules Carey at Tuckers in Warren St, London, or Shamik Dutta or Debaleena Dasgupta at Fisher Meredith in Kennington

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  25. Got knocked off my bike as a minicab driver opened his door, witness (his fare) hasn't gone through with a statement and it's all fallen through: great to see some justice in the world.

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  26. Good luck - now take them out!

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  27. Great news Jared, congratulations. Your sense of relief must be overwhelming.

    Like everyone else, I'd urge you to take the failure of the policeman and the assault by the driver further. It's possible the the driver's witness may also have broken the law.

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  29. Where's the follow up? - we all want to know what's happened to the skumbag police and taxi driver!!

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