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Road rage motorist who drove with cyclist on bonnet avoids jail

Footage shows Ahmed Al-Rawi trying to drive away while the cyclist shouts 'Stop!' from the bonnet...

A motorist who drove with a cyclist on his bonnet following a dispute, prompted by the motorist hitting the rider with their vehicle moments earlier, has avoided jail.

Ahmed Al-Rawi was convicted of dangerous driving and given a suspended 12-month sentence at Winchester Crown Court, banned from driving for one year and also ordered to pay the victim £500 compensation, but avoided an immediate jail term for his actions during a road rage dispute in Swindon.

The judge concluded that the motorist posed "absolutely no danger to the public" despite being seen driving with the victim on his bonnet for several car lengths in footage showed in court.

Road rage motorist who drove with cyclist on bonnet avoids jail (screenshot CPS video)
Road rage motorist who drove with cyclist on bonnet avoids jail (screenshot CPS video)

Al-Rawi claimed he gave the cyclist room, an argument the judge said "the jury is likely to have rejected", as they travelled through Swindon on 18 July 2020. When the rider challenged the 55-year-old an argument ended with the motorist driving off with the cyclist on his bonnet as the victim shouted for him to stop.

Moments later a police van arrived on the scene, with an officer ordering Al-Rawi out of his vehicle, and arresting him.

Road rage motorist who drove with cyclist on bonnet avoids jail (screenshot CPS video)

Prosecuting, Leigh Hart said after the pair became "enthralled" in an argument the cyclist had stood in front of the vehicle.

"The defendant I believed kicked or threw the bike out of the way, and [the victim] remained in the street in front of the bonnet," she said.

"Some verbal words were exchanged and the defendant ended up driving away, resulting in [the victim] being carried on the bonnet for about three car lengths.

"Officers intervened and stopped and arrested the defendant, who disputed the driving was dangerous."

The bike was damaged during the incident and following a 'not guilty' plea, a jury at Winchester Crown Court found Al-Rawi guilty last month.

At sentencing last Thursday, Judge Richard Parkes QC said the act was "plainly a dangerous thing to do" and "passes the custodial threshold" but Al-Rawi poses "absolutely no danger to the public".

The one-year sentence is suspended for 18 months and Al-Rawi will need to pass an extended re-test if he wishes to reclaim his licence at the end of the one-year driving ban.

In interview and at trial the motorist said he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder having been tortured in Iraq, while defence barrister Gareth James explained his client had managed to escape after claiming asylum in the UK.

"There does not appear to have been a great deal of speed, and fortunately the injuries sustained to [the victim] are relatively minor," Mr James said.

"It is a very short-lived incident and it is one which in my respectful submission could normally be dealt with by means of a community order, particularly when you bear in mind the assessments of the probation service."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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49 comments

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hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
12 likes

brooksby wrote:

Quote:

posed "absolutely no danger to the public"

Unless the public happened to be riding a bike, or did something he didn't like, or somehow otherwise triggered his alleged PTSD... 

I think it's fair enough to take someone at their word that they suffer from PTSD, but letting them be in control of 2 tonnes of speeding metal in a situation where they are likely to get sudden loud noises such as car horns, emergency vehicles etc. is not a wise choice.

Avatar
brooksby replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
4 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

I think it's fair enough to take someone at their word that they suffer from PTSD,...

Fair enough.

Quote:

...but letting them be in control of 2 tonnes of speeding metal in a situation where they are likely to get sudden loud noises such as car horns, emergency vehicles etc. is not a wise choice.

Totally agree!

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ChrisB200SX replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
6 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

I think it's fair enough to take someone at their word that they suffer from PTSD

Not if they are using it in mitigation, they really should need to prove that it has been diagnosed. Otherwise, anyone could make up any excuse as to why they tried to run someone over, etc., it needs no basis in reality, like "dropped out of the sky like a sack of spuds" or "the sun was in my eyes"... Oh  2

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
11 likes

ChrisB200SX wrote:

hawkinspeter wrote:

I think it's fair enough to take someone at their word that they suffer from PTSD

Not if they are using it in mitigation, they really should need to prove that it has been diagnosed. Otherwise, anyone could make up any excuse as to why they tried to run someone over, etc., it needs no basis in reality, like "dropped out of the sky like a sack of spuds" or "the sun was in my eyes"... Oh  2

I'll refer you to IanMK's post - PTSD is not so much a mitigation, but a condition (self diagnosed or not) that must be reported to the DVLA if it will affect your driving. I think these kinds of medical issues should result in longer driving bans just purely on safety grounds.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
4 likes

I agree 100%. The process is already in place for epilepsy, so why is it not the same for other conditions that do (or could) render someone unsafe to control heavy machinery in inherently dangerous situations (i.e. drive)

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IanMK replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
14 likes

As his defence has used his PTSD to excuse his atrocious driving I trust he reported it to the DVLA

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Lozcan replied to IanMK | 1 year ago
0 likes

I never knew that. Recently been diagnosed with PTSD by a professor of psychology, been this way for years, thought it was normal.

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IanMK replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
12 likes

I'm not disappointed with the lack of jail time I am disappointed with the apparent lack of community service and extremely disappointed with the 1 year ban. The driver clearly has anger management issues, may well have ongoing mental health issues and has shown that he doesn't have the temperament to be in charge of a motor vehicle. I would like to see this addressed before he's allowed behind the wheel again.

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andystow replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
12 likes

Well, he's clearly not a danger unless he's driving a car, which he obviously 100% will not do while banned from driving, right? Of course he won't.

And another useless "extended re-test" to demonstrate he can hold his aggression back for a few hours while an examiner is with him.

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Carior replied to andystow | 1 year ago
4 likes

Indeed - for the most part I don't actually think that the majority of drivers are incapable of driving to a competent standard, I just don't think they give a flying f**k because no-one is watching and they wont realistically get caught, or when they do, face a particularly meaningful punishment!  Indeed, this is much the same reason why there appear to be a not insignificant number of motorists that drive without insurance, MOT and a licence.

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
3 likes

A seemingly strange decision by the judge, but presumably he'd seen the evidence in the reports which we don't have the benefit of.

Not sure that the prosecutor was up to the job, if she's being quoted correctly:

"Prosecuting, Leigh Hart said after the pair became "enthralled" in an argument the cyclist had stood in front of the vehicle.

"Some verbal words were exchanged and the defendant ended up driving away, resulting in [the victim] being carried on the bonnet for about three car lengths."

Very strange use of the word "enthralled" and as for "verbal words" words fail me.

The reason I doubt that she might actually have used those words is that the online report from This Is Wiltshire, says that Al-Rawi was both driving the car and riding the bike.

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Flâneur replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
3 likes

I'm assuming "enthralled" was actually "embroiled" when it left the lips of the prosecutor...

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mdavidford replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
7 likes

eburtthebike wrote:

as for "verbal words" words fail me.

Important to make it clear that they weren't passing notes to each other. (Or exchanging comments on the internet...)

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janusz0 replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
0 likes

Edit: My comment has already been made by Flâneur,  Where's the delete option?

 

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Rendel Harris replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
4 likes

eburtthebike wrote:

as for "verbal words" words fail me.

Very important to make it clear they weren't slagging each other using BSL or indeed semaphore...

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brooksby replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
4 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

eburtthebike wrote:

as for "verbal words" words fail me.

Very important to make it clear they weren't slagging each other using BSL or indeed semaphore...

That sounds like a Monty Python sketch  1

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Carior | 1 year ago
18 likes

Ah man - using a car for no other reason than to intimidate another person/ as a weapon, commit a dangerous driving offence and yet somehow the guy still doesn't actually pose a danger to the public?

That is some incredible mental gymnastics by Mr Parkes QC there!

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Clem Fandango replied to Carior | 1 year ago
5 likes

Cyclists are clearly not "the public" eh

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Daveyraveygravey replied to Clem Fandango | 1 year ago
0 likes

Clem Fandango wrote:

Cyclists are clearly not "the public" eh

Sub-public maybe?

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