Man rams car, punches passenger, gets let off
There’s an opinion piece in today’s Sunday Telegraph about how police officers in Ashford, Kent, dealt with an incident in which a man drove into the back of a car with a mother and her 16-year-old son and punched the teenager in the face after receiving some “lip”: they apparently checked an onlooker’s tax disc, and then told the victim: “You can’t give ‘verbal’ and not expect something in return”.
Well, I was always under the impression that “he mouthed me off” is not actually a valid excuse for attacking someone, especially after you have damaged their property with your careless driving.
The author then describes what happened after he went to the police station to give a statement:
There followed two frustrating hours during which the policeman tried to persuade me not to make his life more difficult. I was told that Kent Police did not want to waste my time and that the Fiat driver was probably going to be cautioned and released. I protested, saying that he had terrified the boy and his mother. More than 45 minutes later, and with no sign of anybody willing to take a statement, I was told that officers had “much more urgent matters to attend to” and was sent away. On Wednesday over the phone, I was informed: “The man was charged with assault and cautioned. He fully admitted he lost it because of the verbal abuse of the young lad.” And he added: “It was an understandable reaction.” So, an assault serious enough to cause a 16-year-old boy an injury, witnessed by two people - one a special constable - is not serious enough to warrant a prosecution and all the paperwork that would entail. Perhaps Ashford’s policemen are not aware of recent case law which suggests that the ape in the Fiat should be grateful that he is not facing a short spell in prison: in 2003, the Court of Appeal ruled that a custodial sentence was almost inevitable in cases of road rage involving assault occasioning actual bodily harm even when the defendant was of previous good character.
Really, the point is that this man should have been prosecuted in order that justice be done and seen to be done. Incidents like this give the message that having “dissed” someone is enough excuse for them to attack you, and as I’ve written here before, if people get this impression, some among them may imagine (indeed, they already do imagine) that shooting people for the same reason is also acceptable.
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