Mystery cyclist faces judge after night in police cell over Hampstead Heath bike ride
18:20 16 August 2012
An exasperated district judge advised the City of London Corporation to drop legal action against a man cycling on Hampstead Heath after he spent a night in jail and landed in the dock.
The cyclist was stopped by two Heath constables riding in a sign-posted no cycle zone, in breach of byelaw 13, just before 8pm last Thursday (August 9).
When asked for his name and address so that constables could issue a formal warning, he refused to reveal the information and was taken to Kentish Town Police Station by the Heath Constabulary where he spent a night in the cells.
The man was taken to Highbury Corner Magistrate’s Court the next morning (Friday, August 10) for cycling in a no cycling zone but continued to refuse to reveal his identity.
However District Judge Robin McPhee invited the City of London Corporation, which manages the Heath, to withdraw the legal action against him - saying that a night in a cell for cycling on a prohibited path seemed punishment enough.
The mystery man, who was more than six feet tall and was wearing workmen’s trousers splattered with white paint, also refused to enter the dock and responded to the judge’s questions by shouting from behind the door.
He was finally handcuffed to a warden and led into the dock so the hearing could properly proceed.
Phil Saunders, solicitor for the City of London Corporation, said: “The man still won’t tell us his name and we don’t quite know how to deal with it.”
But the judge, who last year presided over the hearing where George Michael pleaded guilty to crashing his car into Snappy Snaps in Hampstead while high on cannabis, said: “Well, one way to deal with it, is to consider that this man has been held over night for riding a bicycle.”
The case was withdrawn by the City of London Corporation.
The cyclist continued to refuse to reveal his name but bowed to the judge and said in a booming foreign accent “Good day to you, gentlemen and ladies!” before he spun on his heel and made a dramatic exit court.
A spokesman for the City of London Corporation, said its lawyer had not come across a similar case in 30 plus years of practice.
In an unlinked case City of London Corporation fined another cyclist £215 for two different breaches of the cycling byelaws in June this year.
Richard Gentry, the City of London Corporation’s constabulary manager, said after the court hearing: “There are very clear areas on the Heath where cycling is permitted and where it is not.
“Those who flout these rules endanger the safety of other Heath users and we will continue to take legal proceedings against them.”