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Cyclist found guilty of assaulting van driver
2:48pm Thursday 11th April 2013 in News
A “gentleman” cyclist has been found guilty of assault by beating after punching a van driver who drove too close to him.
Christopher Alan Wade denied assault and said he had acted in self defence after he claimed van driver Jeffrey Walker bit his hand following the incident in Keighley Road, Skipton on November 9.
But magistrates on Monday said they did not accept Wade’s self defence argument and found him guilty.
Wade, 48, and his stepdaughter, Emily Wade, had been cycling in single file, with Wade slightly out from his daughter, when Mr Walker had passed by in his van, the court heard.
Wade believed Mr Walker had passed too closely and had banged on the side of the van, before confronting Mr Walker through the driver’s window.
The court heard evidence from an independent witness, the police officer who answered a 999 call and Miss Wade, who all said Wade had been angered by the incident.
Prosecuting Hilary Reece said Mr Walker had been a credible witness and Wade had responded angrily in his discussions with the van driver.
She did not accept the injury to Wade’s hand had been caused by a bite and said the wound could have been the result of him punching Mr Walker.
“He insists that he was calm and not angry, but we have heard from his stepdaughter that he was angry and shaking.”
Mrs Reece said there was no reason for Wade to go to the driver’s door of Mr Walker’s vehicle and he had no reason to confront the other man.
“He was angry from the outset about what had happened, and that is why he punched Mr Walker.”
Defence barrister Jeremy Barnett said Wade was a man of previous good character, who cycled regularly and was well versed in how he should behave on the roads.
He denied cycling side by side with his stepdaughter, as had been claimed, but behind and slightly out from his stepdaughter to protect the less experienced rider.
Mr Barnett said he did not deny punching Mr Walker, but that he had acted in lawful self-defence after the other man had bitten him.
He said Wade had insisted at the police station that Mr Walker had bitten him and asked that photographic evidence be taken.
Wade’s long term friend and fellow cyclist, Alistair Geldhart, told the court that Wade was a “gentleman” who was a supporter of the Dave Rayner Fund for young cyclists and he did not believe he could have acted in the way claimed.
Wade, of Crofters Mill, Sutton-in-Craven, was fined £400 and was ordered to pay £100 compensation to Mr Walker. He will also have to pay court costs of £300 and victims surcharge of £40.