Two courier cyclists might have expected the law to be on their side when they were perilously cut-up by a London taxi driver. But instead they found themselves under arrest and appeared in court charged with ‘threatening behaviour’.

Andrew Brown and Mark Durrand appeared at Thames magistrates court and were cleared of the charges, but only after they’d been violently arrested and spent a night in Police cells.

Brenda Puesch, a witness in the case, described what occurred to Cycling Weekly: “I saw a taxi deliberately swerve into two cyclists immediately in front of me before accelerating off, missing them by inches.”

The cyclists pursued the taxi driver and, upon catching him, remonstrated with him over his driving.

“I caught up with the group and saw the cyclists had stopped the taxi and were berating the driver,” Ms. Puesch said. “Then as I was leaving the scene two policemen suddenly arrived and violently arrested the cyclists, pushing them to the ground.”

The cyclists’ arrest came a short period after they were allegedly endangered by the driver, and the policemen involved allowed them no time to explain the situation.

The cyclists admitted using bad language and said they did utter threats, but with no intention of carrying them out – they could not, as the driver was locked in his car. 

“The judge decided that there was insufficient threat to the taxi driver and so cleared the cyclists,” their lawyer Paul Culbert said. “The judge decided that the police officer’s evidence lacked credibility, and the taxi driver said he had felt safe in his vehicle.”

The provocation of the cyclists was not taken into account in the case as provocation is only considered related to murder charges under UK law. It would have been relevant as a mitigating factor had the cyclists been found guilty.

The original version of this article appeared in Cycling Weekly magazine August 18 2011

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  • Robert Toomey

    Perhaps intervention by the police may have been necessary,but their actions were clearly over the top.To have acted in that way certainly did not improve our opinions of the way certain police officers deal with the general public.
    Unfortunately the actions of these two officers, do not help the excellent work that the majority of the police force carry out.

  • Steve

    There ain’t no justice

  • Phil Lee

    I hope the police will be making a full apology to the two cyclists, and compensating them for the wrongful arrest and unlawful detention.
    The officers concerned should be charged with common assault, since no offence had been committed by the victims it cannot have been a legal arrest.
    Then they should issue a warning to the criminal driving the taxi under s59 or the Police Reform Act 2002, as well as charging him with dangerous driving and common assault (contact is not necessary for an assault, only for battery).

    Of course, what should happen and what will is the difference that leads to people losing respect for the police.