Police U-turn on prosecution in Michael Mason case
Friday, 13 March 2015
With support from the Cyclists' Defence Fund, the family of 70-year-old Michael Mason who was hit from behind by a driver on Regent Street on 25 February 2014, have been fighting for answers as to why the police did not inform the CPS of the case. Michael died on 14 March, 19 days after the incident.
The police chose not to press charges against the driver, despite the fact that she could not explain why she hadn't spotted Michael when many other witnesses had seen him clearly. Although the police did not break any rules when they failed to consult the CPS on the decision not to charge, their action went against charging guidance.
'We are still struggling with the loss of Mick and the failure of the justice system to deal with his death.'
Anna Tatton-Brown, Michael Mason's daughter
The CPS will now review the case to see whether it passes the code for prosecutors. They will assess whether there is enough evidence for a reasonable chance of conviction, and whether prosecuting the driver is in the public interest.
Putting the decision-making process in the hands of the CPS entitles Michael's family to review any unfavourable decision that might be made, under what is known as the Victims' Right to Review Scheme. In contrast, when the police make such decisions, victims have no right to challenge them.
Rhia Weston, Coordinator of the Cyclists' Defence Fund said: 'The threat of embarrassment from a private prosecution highlighting the police's failure to act seems to have made the police change their minds about this case. Now that the CPS has received the case file, we hope that they decide to prosecute the driver involved and that they choose a dangerous driving charge rather than a lesser charge of careless driving. CDF will remain on standby to ensure that justice is done in this case and in other cases like it.'
The Cyclists' Defence Fund has been preparing to initiate a potential private prosecution of the driver should the case not be picked up by the CPS. It launched a fundraising appeal to do so, which has received over £9000 in donations.
A vigil due to take place this evening (Friday 13 March) on Regent Street to mark the one year anniversary of Michael's death will go ahead as planned.