Cycling UK's Cyclists' Defence Fund (CDF) has issued proceedings against the driver involved in a fatal collision with cyclist Michael Mason in London two years ago.
Mason, known as Mick, died in hospital in March 2014, shortly after his 70th birthday. He had been hit from behind by a car on London’s Regent Street 19 days earlier.
Gale Purcell accepted at an inquest that if Mason was there, she should have seen him, but Metropolitan Police decided not to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence. CDF believes this was a clear breach of CPS guidelines.
Following work from CDF, the Metropolitan Police seemingly changed its position in March 2015, saying it would refer the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Five days later, that statement was withdrawn.
The inquest into Mason’s death returned a finding of accidental death. Writing on his blog at the time, Martin Porter QC, who represented the family at the inquest, said: "Witness evidence and CCTV evidence … left no doubt that no witness aside from the Nissan driver failed to see Mr Mason on his bicycle."
CDF has now instructed solicitors to commence a private prosecution of Purcell for causing death by careless driving. The proceedings have been issued in Westminster Magistrates Court and an initial court hearing has been listed for September 6.
Speaking on behalf of the CDF, Duncan Dollimore, said:
"This is the first step towards what we hope will be justice for Mick Mason’s family. They have suffered not just the tragic death of a family pillar but also been woefully let down by the police and legal system at the time they needed it most.
“The Cyclists’ Defence Fund wants to thank everyone who has generously donated. Without their help this private prosecution and the Mason family’s ongoing struggle for justice wouldn’t have been possible.”