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Hit-and-run on police officer earns driver 11 months' jail & three year driving ban

Lee Gowan drove into a cycling police officer, before fleeing. Cycling UK's Roger Geffen calls 3 year driving ban insufficient given the driver's "willful disregard" for safety...

A man responsible for a hit and run on a Metropolitan Police officer has been sentenced to 11 months in jail and banned from driving for three years.

Leo Gowan, 23, of South East London, appeared at the Inner London Crown Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) against a police officer from the Metropolitan Police’s Cycle Enforcement Team.

Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, called the length of the ban extraordinary given the circumstances of the collision, and said Gowan should not be allowed behind the wheel until he has had a “fundamental change of attitude”.

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At a 2.45pm on 16 March the uniformed officer - part of the Met's Cycle Enforcement team and on patrol on a bicycle - attempted to stop Gowan's car as part of a routine operation to identify uninsured drivers.

A Metropolitan Police statement says: “Gowan initially stopped but then drove into the officer and over his bike, knocking the officer onto the car's bonnet. Gowan drove off erratically, swerving to dislodge the officer, who was eventually forced off and into the road.”

The officer was taken to hospital after the collision with minor injuries, and was discharged shortly after. Gowan’s car was found abandoned later that day, after which Gowan was found and charged.

Roger Geffen MBE, Cycling UK's Policy Director said: "It does seem extraordinary that Gowan did not receive a much longer driving ban, particularly given reports that he also left the scene of the crime.

"Anyone who drives with such willful disregard for another person's safety is a liability who should not be allowed behind a wheel again, at least until they have demonstrated a fundamental change of attitude.

"Cycling UK will call for much tougher use of driving bans, as part of our response to the Government's long awaited review of traffic offences and penalties due later this year."

The maximum sentence for Actual Bodily Harm is five years. 

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