I'd received a summons to attend for a 10am trial. Attendance required by 0930.
The court ushers seemed surprised when I arrived, but showed me to a witness waiting room.
At about 10 the prosecutor came to see me. The case hadn't been listed for trial today, but for a case management hearing, not at 10 but at noon.
She suggested I went for coffee and she'd see if the bench would proceed directly to trial if the Defendant agreed. He wouldn't arrive until at the earliest, 1130 though. Unlike me, he'd been given the correct time.
I explained a typo in my statement. I also explained that I didn't know/couldn't recall if I'd uploaded rear footage, but I'd mentioned the rear camera in my statement.
She had only seen stills from the front footage. I showed her the rear footage on my phone. It shows again the back of the trailer getting uncomfortably close to me. I told her of the conversation I'd had with the defendant where he couldn't see a problem with the close pass.
She said she'd wait until the Defendant arrived to see if we could get on with the trial today and that she'd explain the mix-up about my attendance to the court.
I went for a nice stroll around Bath, a coffee & flapjack.
1144 Defendant still not arrived. He showed up five minutes past twelve and went into court as I waited outside.
After seeing the footage and having legal advice he pleaded guilty. He'd been driving for over 50 years and already had three points for speeding. He was still driving HGVs for the same company. His solicitor explained that he now takes greater care around cyclists and that he'd got his own dashcam. His solicitor offered his apology to me which I accepted.
The magistrates didn't like how close he'd been to me. He was a “professional driver” in charge of a large HGV. They imposed five points and a £200 fine, with £85 costs and £32 victim surcharge. The bench thanked me for attending and I thanked them for dealing with the case today.
The driver seemed to regard it as bad luck I'd reported him, though. Which I suppose it was. I'm certain his driving wouldn't have altered (if indeed it has) without this experience. Ended with a handshake.
My learning points:-
Keep your own records of exactly what files you've uploaded and what you said on the initial report, as Avon & Somerset police don't send a copy
You never know when you might be requested to attend court months afterwards. I am now keeping footage for 12 months. Without footage I would not recall enough detail. If it's a very serious case write everything down straightaway, what you were wearing, what lights, what cameras, any other details.
I was most surprised that this one was prosecuted as my previous complaints about FirstBus doing the same thing had only ever resulted in a warning letter to the fleet manager.