Monday 16 April 2012

Porter v Denman

Regular readers may recall that some 16 months ago I was assaulted by Timothy Denman.  My application for a summary judgement was heard this morning and granted.  Denman was there but did not have much to say for himself apart from fabricating an account that I had sworn at him.  He now has to pay a Judgment sum in the total of £1,254.
Some of what he said indicated that his aggression stemmed from a total inability to recognise the right of cyclists to use the road.  He said his way had been blocked by 6 cyclists riding together and he felt this was intolerable because he paid tax!  I had not been aware of this - it must have occurred some minutes before the encounter which led to an assault on me.  He did not seem to recognise that there was something wrong with his driving if he was moving closely enough to my colleague for him to slap the side of his car 'not close enough to knock him off'.
Interestingly he said he had been arrested 'but nothing came of it.  I was just given a caution' which gives the lie to the Thames Valley Police attitude that he had received some significant sanction.
This was my first ever appearance in Court representing myself and I have to commend the Slough County Court.  The case was called on shortly after the appointed hour and dealt with efficiently and courteously..  The Judge had done more preparation than had I, and we were out well within an hour.
Denman was of course disgruntled ('stitched up' he claimed) and the next challenge will be to enforce the Judgment against him.


  1. Good to hear some positive news on this. I'm not sure where the idea of road tax also acting as an entitlement to drive inches from cyclists came from, but anything that can be done to dispel this myth can only be a good thing!

  2. -what this does show is that the "we pay road tax" myth is one leading to violence on the roads -and as the cost of driving increases the feelings of entitlement may increase and the resentment and anger towards a growing number of bicycles may also.

    1. Suspension of Driving Privileges ought to be some form of penalty in such incidents, as it directly penalises the driver, and may propagate into insurance premiums.

    2. It doesn't sound like this individual's world view or behaviour is going to change.

  3. I've had several instances of motorists yelling at me (fortunately not much worse so far) over the idea that their paying of road tax entitles them to have me out of their way. I recount one here: .

    What's particularly baffling is that all the instances have happened so far on roads owned by either Transport for London or the London Borough of Lambeth, to both of which I pay substantial council tax and which receives directly neither vehicle excise duty nor fuel duty. Pointing this out never seems to get one very far, however.

    I continue to be impressed, Martin, by your readiness to take on these issues. You're doing fabulous work.


  4. When confronted with any situation where a quick response is needed you'll often grope for an easy win - and in the car vs bike scenario the staples are "paying road tax", "jumping red lights" and "must use cycle lanes" - it's not an invitation to enter into a dialogue, it's just a means to vent because, fundamentally, they're jealous of the ease with which cyclists can progress through heavy traffic.

    I too am impressed by your persistence in following this up, but follow my fellow commenters in doubting this has affected his world view, although he will think twice next time, so thanks for that at least.

  5. I hope you do manage to get some money out of him!

  6. Denman sounds like a spoilt child. He in reality is not an "enforcer" of perceived injustice as he seems to think he is but a brat looking for excuses to make mischief.

    I hope he pays up, and that a lesson learned leads to more civil behaviour from him (though I doubt he has the capacity in the latter if what you wrote is correct).

  7. It's great to see justice done and everyone must hope that more such cases succeed and are publicised.

    Changing human nature is not part of the deal though, and ridding a person of one prejudice will just make room for another. The roots lie in unfair competition for scarce and badly designed road space. Improvement there is where the great victories will come from.

  8. Next step, seize his car for non payment....

  9. Nice result, although it's taken more time and knowledge of the legal system than most of us have. And it's sad that his attitude shows him to be completely unrepentant. Still, with any luck as Tom B says, he'll fail to pay and end up paying with his car.

  10. Well done. A good result. And when he doesn't pay can you send in the bailiffs and seize his motor?

  11. Thank you for having the persistence top see this through. His attitude as all too common and needs to be dealt with whenever possible.

  12. what's that quote about representing yourself ;-)
    Well done! Hope he does actually pay up, did the judge attempt to rebuff Denman's claims of stitched uppery or tackle his views on road tax entitlements?

  13. Well done! I hope that this will be a lesson to the angry brigade, but I am really disappointed in the legal system that you should have to be pushing this all the way. Where are the lazy law enforcers? Let's hope that the big demo on 28th has some influence on them.

  14. @cyclingfromscratch
    I know! Where does this 'paying road tax entitles me to...' mindset come from?

    Saw this recently which you all might enjoy. Especially the concluding lines.