London Assembly member, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, has written to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to express her concern over the police’s handling of the Michael Mason case.
Michael Mason was hit from behind by a car on Regent Street on 25 February 2014, dying 19 days later. Despite the driver admitting at inquest that she could not explain her failure to see him when he was right in front of her, the police did not refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
In Baroness Jones’ letter, dated 3rd February 2015, she highlighted the failure of the Met Police to pass the case file to the CPS – an act that contradicted charging and prosecution guidance, – and requested the Commissioner reconsider the decision not to pursue the case.
Baroness Jones pointed out that the Met’s decision not to prosecute the driver based on insufficient evidence – as none of the witnesses interviewed actually saw the collision – potentially reveals a worrying over-reliance on witness statements in Met Police road crash investigations. This echoes a call that CTC’s Road Justice campaign made in its report ‘Road Justice: the role of the police’ for the collection of auxiliary evidence such as CCTV and helmet camera footage when there are no witnesses to a collision.
Baroness Jones stressed her fear that the failure of the police to pursue this case may send out a message that cyclists who ‘take the road’, as Mr Mason had done to make himself more visible on approach to a pinch point, are not protected by law if they are hit by a motorist.
With the assistance of the Cyclists’ Defence Fund, Mr Mason’s family instructed CTC ambassador Martin Porter QC to engage with the police and CPS on their behalf, with the aim of reversing the decision not to prosecute. Baroness Jones reiterated this call in her letter.
h3. Funds needed to fight for justice
The Cyclists’ Defence Fund launched a £30,000 funding appeal in preparation for a possible legal challenge, should the Police and CPS fail to overturn the decision not to prosecute.
Generous individuals concerned with the police response to bad driving have donated more than £6000 to the appeal online.
This is an incredible response and shows the level of support among the public for Mr Mason’s family’s fight for justice.
Learning of the kindness of these strangers, Mr Mason’s daughter Anna Tatton-Brown, said: ‘A year on we are still struggling with the loss of Mick, and the failure of the justice system to deal with his death. The support from the cycling community has been overwhelming and gives us hope that we might get justice for Mick and for others.’
Although this case is about a family who have become victims of an ineffective justice system; at the heart of it is a problem that reaches far beyond the Mason family to all those who have suffered, or who will suffer injustice at the hands of a system which doesn’t take safety on the roads seriously. This case needs to be fought for all these people.
The funding appeal is backed by CTC, the London Cycling Campaign, British Cycling, and the national road crash victims’ charity, RoadPeace.
To donate to the appeal online please use this link – https://www.justgiving.com/justiceformichael
To donate via the post, please send a cheque payable to the Cyclists’ Defence Fund (please do not make cheques payable to CTC), and send to:
The Cyclists’ Defence Fund
c/o CTC, Parklands
Please write on the back of the cheque, or on a separate note in the envelope, ‘Justice for Michael’. If you are a UK taxpayer and eligible for Gift Aid, please download and send a copy of the Gift Aid form.
For other ways you can donate, including by phone and by text, please visit the donate pages of the Cyclists’ Defence Fund website.