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Officer given written warning for decision not to prosecute driver who hit cyclist while on wrong side of road

Evidence was only reviewed when cyclist later died in hospital

A Merseyside police officer has been strongly criticised and given a written warning following his decision to release a driver without charge after he hit a cyclist while driving on the wrong side of the road, reports the Liverpool Echo. Misconduct proceedings were initially ruled out until the police watchdog, the IPCC, twice intervened.

In October 2010, Ali Farahani drove 60m on the wrong side of the road and hit 42-year-old Daniel Ayers after growing impatient with traffic on Liverpool’s Prescot Road. Witnesses described his manoeuvre as “reckless”, “irresponsible” and “crazy” and he was eventually jailed for 10 months for dangerous driving.

However, it was only when Ayers later died in hospital that the evidence was reviewed. Ayers had been admitted with fractures to his arm and knee and a piece of bone on his spine. An inquest ruled that the immediate cause of his death was a pre-existing condition, connected to alcohol dependency.

The initial decision to release Farahani without charge was made by PC Simon Lewis and Ayers’ sister, Georgina Moore, complained that he had failed to conduct a full and proper investigation and also that he was “discriminatory” because her brother, an alcoholic, was drunk at time of the accident.

Lewis was found to have carried out a substandard investigation and given a written warning, but was cleared of the discrimination allegation. Chief Inspector Phil Davies, who chaired the hearing, said Lewis’s behaviour “displayed a disregard of the policy and procedures expected of a roads policing officer” and told him: “Your decision to take no further action jeopardised the subsequent court trial and placed the reputation of Merseyside Police at risk.”

However, a High Court judge has now ordered a fresh investigation over the discrimination charge as well. Judge Stephen Davies said the decision to clear the officer at the police misconduct hearing was “not sufficiently reasoned” and has ordered a fresh inquiry by the force, led by a different investigator.

CTC’s Road Justice Campaign aims to improve the way the justice system handles bad driving in order to actively discourage irresponsible driving and raise driving standards. One of the campaign’s key objectives is to ensure the police and prosecution make appropriate charging and prosecution decisions.

On the campaign website, CTC writes:

“The police, prosecutors and the courts all contribute to protecting us from criminal behaviour on the roads. Much of the time they are effective and many bad drivers are prosecuted and receive the appropriate penalties. Yet, unfortunately, some bad drivers are treated leniently due to what CTC perceives as occasional failings of these institutions. This can send out the message that driving inconsiderately or in a way that puts others at risk is tolerated.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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