What is ’wanton and furious driving’? Offence from 1861 used to convict cyclist Charlie Alliston over Kim Briggs’ death

ON 23 August 2017 20-year-old cyclist Charlie Alliston was convicted of "wanton and furious driving" over the death of Kim Briggs.

But what is the obscure law that he was found guilty of breaching when he knocked over the mum-of-two?

 Charlie Alliston was found guilty of wanton and furious driving after knocking down pedestrian Kim Briggs as she crossed a London road on her lunch break

Causing bodily harm by wanton or furious driving is an offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It was created by section 35 of the Offences Against the Persons Act which dates from 1861.

It reads: "Whosoever, having the charge of any carriage or vehicle, shall by wanton or furious driving or racing, or other wilful misconduct, or by wilful neglect, do or cause to be done any bodily harm to any person whatsoever, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years …"

The law is used to convict persons who cause bodily harm with a vehicle that is not motorised, like a bicycle, horse-drawn carriage or in a car that is not being driven on a public road.

The maximum sentence for causing bodily harm by wanton and furious driving is two years imprisonment.

There is an offence for attempting to cause harm by wanton and furious driving which requires an intent to cause bodily harm.

In 2008 cyclist Darren Hall, 20, fatally injured 84-year-old pedestrian Ronald Turner in Weymouth, Dorset.

He was jailed in 2009 for seven months.

Alliston, 20, was charged with manslaughter and causing bodily harm by wanton and furious driving after he fatally crashed into Kim Briggs, 44, as she crossed Old Street in East London on 12 February 2016.

Then aged 18, Alliston was said to have been travelling at nearly 20mph when he mowed down the mum-of-two during her lunch break.

Alliston was riding a fixed-gear track bicycle with no front brake, which is illegal to take on the road without modification.

Hours after the crash, he posted a comment online after seeing a newspaper report about the incident.

He wrote: “It was her fault, but no she did not deserve it. Hopefully it is a lesson to be learned on her behalf."

He went on to claim Briggs had been on her mobile phone: “I refuse to accept any responsibility in this whatsoever… It’s not my fault people think they are invincible or just have zero respect for cyclists.

“What makes it worse is that, even when people were helping her, her phone was going off continuously with texts showing she was on it at the time. If you value your phone more than your life maybe this is the type of wake up call you need.”

Alliston was cleared of manslaughter at the Old Bailey on 23 August 2017, but found guilty of causing bodily harm by wanton and furious driving.

He was jailed at the Old Bailey on 18 September for 18 months.

 Mum-of-two Kim Briggs suffered fatal head injuries when she was knocked down while crossing the road on her lunch break

The 44-year-old mum-of two was on her lunch break when she was knocked down while crossing the road.

Alliston allegedly shouted at Mrs Briggs to “get out of the way” twice before their heads smashed together.

She suffered catastrophic head injuries in the collision and died a week later in hospital.

Mrs Briggs had just started a new job as head of HR at a company close to where she was knocked down.

Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4306251/wanton-and-furious-driving-1861-law-charlie-alliston-kim-briggs/

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