The scales of justice: Photo Flckr CC; credit James Cridland
Will there be justice for Mick Mason?

Three years on and still waiting for justice for Michael Mason

Tomorrow (25 February) will be the third anniversary of the tragic collision which led to the death of 70 year old teacher Michael Mason, who was hit from behind as he cycled along London's Regent Street. Three years of waiting and fighting, but in five weeks time his family will finally get to hear the evidence about what happened, as the private prosecution finally comes to trial at the Old Bailey.

"My father’s death still touches every part of our lives and our long drawn out attempts to get some measure of justice remains painful", Michael Mason's daughter, Anna Tatton-Brown, told us. "The ongoing support offered us by the Cyclists’ Defence Fund, and the many people who have donated money, is an ongoing source of support and solace."

On 14 March 2014, 19 days after being hit from behind, Michael, known as Mick to friends and family, passed away as a result of his injuries.

Mick's family could not understand why, back in 2014, the Metropolitan Police declined to prosecute the driver Gail Purcell, even though she was unable to explain why she failed to see Mick when many other witnesses had. The decision not to prosecute was made by the police without referring the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for advice, notwithstanding the CPS guidance that charging decisions in fatal collision cases should be made by a senior crown prosecutor. 

Following work by Cycling UK's Cyclists' Defence Fund (CDF) and media coverage, and two days before a ride and vigil at Regent Street to mark the first anniversary of Mick's death, the Metropolitan Police changed their position, and announced that they would refer the case to the CPS.

Six days later, without first notifying Mick's family, the police reversed that decision, informing the media that no CPS referral would be made.

As a consequence of the many concerns regarding the investigation into and handling of this case, Cycling UK announced that through CDF it would support Mick's family to instruct lawyers, and potentially pursue a private prosecution of Purcell, given the police's failure to do so. Shortly thereafter, the fundraising appeal Justice for Michael was launched by CDF.

In total, £71,000 has been raised through fundraising, and the incredible generosity of cyclists, supporters, and those who simply believed that this was a case which merited the evidence being heard and tested in court. That fundraising enabled CDF to commence a private prosecution last summer, with Purcell summonsed to court for causing Mick's death by careless driving.

Trial starts 3 April

Purcell pleaded not guilty at a hearing before the Old Bailey in October, with a trial set for 6 days commencing on 3 April.

My father’s death still touches every part of our lives and our long drawn out attempts to get some measure of justice remains painful. The ongoing support offered us by the Cyclists’ Defence Fund, and the many people who have donated money, is an ongoing source of support and solace."

Anna Tatton-Brown, Mick's daughter

Speaking about the support her family had received, Mick's daughter Anna Tatton-Brown said last year that "My father’s death still touches every part of our lives and our long drawn out attempts to get some measure of justice remains painful. The ongoing support offered us by the Cyclists’ Defence Fund, and the many people who have donated money, is an ongoing source of support and solace. 

"My father on his bike is still one of my most vivid memories and I know that he would want us to press ahead with our court case in the hope that it might change the way the authorities view cycling accidents and the treatment of cyclists on our roads."

Donate

With the case now set for trial in April, and acknowledging the incredible support already received, Cycling UK are however having one final fundraising push to raise funds for CDF, and to cover the costs of the prosecution given the six day time estimate for the trial.

If you are willing and able to support Mick's family, and contribute to the costs of this case, you can donate online via Justice for Michael.

Any and all donations will be received with the grateful thanks and appreciation of Mick's family, Cycling UK, and CDF.

 

 

DuncanDollimore