A 70-year-old van driver has been given community service and ordered to pay more than £1,400 in compensation after punching a female cyclist in the face and stamping on her partner’s bike during a row over his driving.
Pensioner Fred Brizzell had argued that he had only acted in self-defence, and that the cyclists were the aggressors at all times, during his Magistrate's Court trial yesterday.
But Relief Magistrate Sarah Fitz did not believe his account, this morning finding him guilty of malicious damage and an assault that left the victim with a bleeding and swollen lip.
The victim told the Magistrate's Court during yesterday's trial that the dispute broke out on 17 January as she was cycling with her partner towards La Rocque slipway from Gorey.
She said that though she saw Brizzell's van waiting to turn into the slipway on the opposite side of the road, there was "nowhere" for him to go as it was blocked by a car already in the slipway, and so assumed he would stop.
Pictured: The trial took place in the Magistrate's Court yesterday.
However, she said his van kept driving over her side of the road, forcing her partner to cycle behind it and her to "squeeze" in front of it.
She said she had then cycled up and told Brizzell he should have stopped his van and that it was her right of way, before hitting a panel on his van out of anger.
After this, she said they carried on cycling up the road, but, a few minutes later noticed someone was accelerating behind them, and saw that Brizzell had followed them. The cyclist said he then cut in front and blocked them off.
The victim said that Brizzell got out of the van, despite her partner trying to stop him from leaving the vehicle.
Appearing for the prosecution, Legal Adviser Paul Lee highlighted mobile phone footage which he said showed that the victim's partner had dropped his bike on the floor due to Brizzell coming towards him.
The victim said Brizzell approached her after getting out of his van and punched her in the face, leaving her "lip bleeding and swollen".
After this, as more cars stopped and people came to calm the situation, she said he went back to his van. However, on his way there, she said he stamped on her partner's bike before driving off.
A bike shop later estimated the damage to the bike would need £1,182.99 of repair work.
Brizzell, represented by Advocate Francesca Pinel, denied all the charges, saying the cyclists were "not telling... the truth" and that the victim had been aggressive to him first, swearing at him after cycling behind his van.
He said when he caught up with them, she had pushed him twice when he got out of his van to talk, and on the third attempt to push him he had slapped her in self defence.
He also denied stamping on the bike, saying he had tripped over it and given it a light kick, and that he had not caused it to drop either.
Giving her verdict this morning, Relief Magistrate Fitz said she was sure of sure of Brizzell's guilt on the charge of assault, and that he had punched the victim.
She said that due to a combination of photographic evidence of the cut lip, witness testimonies and Brizzell's admission that he did strike her, she found "the act was not in self defence", adding that there was evidence he was the "aggressor throughout".
On the count of malicious damage, she also said she was "sure" he was guilty of both stamping on the bike and causing it to fall over.
Referring to a video shown earlier in the hearing, she said: "In my view, if you are aggressive to someone holding a bike, it is foreseeable that the bike could be damaged either directly or by falling."
She sentenced Brizzell to 50 hours of community service for the assault and ordered him to pay £250 in compensation to the woman.
On the malicious damage charges, he was ordered to pay the full £1,182.99 in compensation for the bike, and fined a separate £200.
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