20 January, 2003: Dixon of, No, We're Not Going To Prosecute Green

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Here's the the eventual outcome of the incident in September 2002 during which a motorist deliberately ran his car into me on a Zebra crossing, and the Police investigation of same. At the time, I contacted the Police and described the incident in a letter.

Cambridgeshire Police responded to my letter in November, as I noted in a newsgroup article.

I was invited to make a statement by the Police in December, and did so at the beginning of January (I had been out of the country). My statement essentially recapitulated the details in my original letter, though I was slightly surprised that the statement took two and a half hours to give and resulted in almost nine pages of handwritten ungrammatical prose. Ah well....

The Police contacted me last week to inform me that they had decided not to proceed with any formal action against the motorist, who had been identified and had admitted to his part in the incident (although he denied actually hitting me with his car; `Criminal tells lies to Police' is, I suppose, not news). A statement was also taken from the passenger in the car, who turned out to be the daughter of the motorist.

I understand that the decision not to proceed with any formal action was informed by the expectation that a conviction would be hard to secure given that the only third party witness was a relative of the accused.

I am informed that the motorist in this case was surprised to find that the Police had taken an interest, however slight, in his behaviour. Whether this surprise related to the long delay between his attack on me and the Police response, or whether he did not feel that his criminality ought to have attracted the curiosity of the Police, I cannot say. The constable who interviewed the motorist told me that he felt that even the investigation without any subsequent formal action would have a deterrent effect upon my attacker.

It's hard for me to identify any useful lessons here. I think that the most important one -- which most of us, on some level, already know -- is to obtain the names of witnesses, since this ought to make prosecution easier. At the time, I was too shaken to do so. So the second most important lesson is, I suppose, to remain calm even in the face of outrageous and frightening behaviour by other road users.

Copyright (c) 2003 Chris Lightfoot; available under a Creative Commons License.