A former pub landlord punched a Driffield man in a violent case of road rage.
Andrew Archer, 34, flew into a rage when a Volkswagen Bora cut him up and pulled into Andy’s Tyres, on Bessingby Industrial Estate, Bridlington, and punched the man he thought was responsible.
Archer got the wrong man, instead striking a motorist who was having his tyres changed.
Businessman Archer, the owner of Bosville Arms at Rudston, was charged with assault and witness intimidation. He was found guilty of a charge of common assault after a trial at a Magistrates Court in December, but stood a one-day trial denying intimidating the motorist at Hull Crown Court.
The complainant told the jury he had gone to Andy’s Tyres at 9.30am on July 12 last year and was talking to the owner and another man when Mr Archer. “It started off really calm at first. He was talking about some road rage. He said I had caused him some problems. He said I had put his family at risked and punched me. He started kicking me and shouting abuse. He was shouting and pointing. I’d say it went on for five or 10 minutes.”
The man was taken to hospital suffering concussion. He was treated for bruising and swelling to his face claiming he lost a tooth. Archer was reported to police and pleaded not guilty and the case was scheduled for a trial.
However on August 18 the complainant began to get a serious of calls on his mobile phone. The calls were made on an unregistered mobile. “I ignored them at first then I got a call at 9,04pm saying: “Answer your phone.” I rang the full number back. The person answered. He said: “I am a friend of Andrew Archer.” I recognised his voice from the garage, because of the deep tone. I was stumped because I wondered how did he get hold of my mobile. He said, I was pressing charges against him. He said: “A word of advice, drop the charges, because he knows where you live and will send his friends round.” I was in shock for a moment and could not say anything. He said: “Why can’t you say anything?” I did not reply. I put the phone down. I felt threatened, someone could be coming around to my house at any moment. I thought the call was to make me drop the charges so he would not get into trouble.”
Mr Archer was found guilty of assault at a Magistrates Court and given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £450 cost and £250 compensation.
However, he insisted he was not the man who had made the threatening call. The mobile phone was never recovered. Police were able to trace calls made on it to Filey and Hunmanby earlier that night but Mr Archer said he could not have made the call as he was working that night in the Boswell Arms and there was no reception within 30 metres of the pub.
After hearing the prosecution case defence barrister Charlotte Baines submitted the only evidence against Mr Archer was the crucial 45 second call where his voice was allegedly identified. She said the complainant had only heard his voice briefly and the Court of Appeal ruled such identification cases represented a serious risk of injustice.
Judge Paul Watson, QC, said the risk of an injustice required him to stop the case. He called the jury in and told them. “I have a duty to interfere if I take the view that the quality is so poor and there is that injustice. I take that view in this case. You know he was found guilty of assault and got a conditional discharge. Interfering with witness is a wholly different league. It means he could go to prison and everything follows from that. This was a case without any supporting evidence, other than the telephone call. It depended on recognizing those 35 words which were spoken by the person he had one exchange with a month before at the garage. This is not a person he had seen every day. I wonder whether you would have convicted in any event.”
Speaking after the case the victim said: “He punched me. It was just one punch and I went to the ground. He thought I was driving a Volkswagen Bora, that had been in a road rage incident with him. I wasn’t. I was in a Mondeo. I didn’t know it but the lad with the Bora was in the garage at the time. I went to hospital with concussion. It is a bit embarrassing, because I used to be a martial arts instructor and he knocked me out. I just didn’t know it was coming. I used to think he was Ok. After this, I just think he is a bully who likes to throw his weight about.”