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Man Not Guilty of Racially Aggravated Road Rage Harassment Willesden Magistrates' Court 2024

Our Client was charged with two counts of Racially Aggravated Intentional Harassment, Alarm or Distress contrary to section 31(1)(b) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986. The allegation was related to a ‘road rage’ incident following a parking dispute. The other man involved was an ex-police officer who, after physically assaulting our client, went on to falsely accuse him of making racist comments about his wife.

Our client's instructions were that he did not make any comments about the man’s wife whatsoever, let alone mention her racial background. He instructed that the man was angry at his parking and had approached him aggressively from the outset, going on to assault our client and even insult his children, who were present in the car at the time. Our client said the allegations were wholly false and seemingly made vindictively. Our client, therefore, pleaded ‘not guilty’, and a trial date was set. These proceedings were crucial, as our client had an almost entirely clean record, and these allegations were particularly sensitive.

The Defence sought disclosure of relevant material from the Crown, which was subsequently obtained, and scrutiny revealed that our client was facing an uphill battle. Most notably, despite denying the allegations against him, the evidence showed that our client had made erroneous admissions twice. First, the man’s wife captured a video on her phone, immediately after the road rage incident, of her asking our client whether he made the racist comments alleged, to which he replied, ‘Yeah, I did say that’. Second, when represented by a different firm at his police interview, our client put forward a prepared statement in which he again admitted to making the alleged comments. Our client instructed that he had only admitted making the comments on video to diffuse the situation as he was being pressured, and that he had only put forward the prepared statement following the advice of his previous solicitor at interview.

These two mistaken admissions made things more complicated and difficult for our client in terms of his prospects of acquittal, however we were determined to do our utmost to overcome these obstacles. Our approach included intense scrutiny of the man’s written statements to find inconsistencies which would show that he lacked credibility as a witness, and gathering of character references from our client’s friends, family, and colleagues to demonstrate how the allegations were inconsistent with his beliefs, values, and character.

Paralegal Maeve Carroll instructed senior solicitor Sanjay Cholera to represent our Client before Willesden Magistrates’ Court for his trial. The Crown put forward their case, and both the ex-police officer involved, and his wife attended Court to give live evidence where they were subject to expert cross-examination by the Defence. Our client then gave evidence in his defence. After the Bench retired to consider their verdict, the parties were called back into Court, where a verdict of ‘not guilty’ was entered. The Magistrates explained that they could not be sure that our client had made the comments alleged, and thus, they had no choice but to acquit him of both charges. Our client’s near-perfect record was preserved, and his rep

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