Saw a chap today charged with two counts of Section 20 GBH (Grievous bodily harm). Circumstances were unusual though...
The defendant was a cyclist (a cycle courier in fact) and was alleged to be pedalling along a footpath in the city with variously estimated speeds of 20mph to 30mph. Apparently, such speeds are easily attainable on modern bicycles, which was a surprise to me.
The prosecution case is that he swerved off the footpath then returned almost immediately onto the footpath, in doing so, he collided with an 87 year old woman in a wheel chair with such force that the chair was pushed over, the occupant's leg becoming trapped between the chair and the pavement. The cyclist ended up on top of the wheelchair and it is said that his weight combined with the force applied, broke the woman's ankle and caused a fracture of tibia and fibula where her leg was trapped by the overturned wheelchair.
The prosecution further allege that the cycle, by this time riderless and uncontrolled, then hit a nine year old girl in the face, causing a fracture of the left zygomatic bone necessitating a maxillo-facial operation.
The prosecution base their charge of Section 20 on the fact that several witnesses have spoken of the attitude and apparent recklessness of the cyclist with regard to the safety of pedestrians on the footpath. Section 20 allows for a charge if the harm appeared to be unintentional if the defendant was reckless as to the results of his or her actions.
Given the severity of the injuries, we declined jurisdiction and committed the case to Crown Court.
Unfortunately, in declining jurisdiction, no plea is taken so we don't know whether the chap intends to plead guilty or not