Driver walks free from court
A MAN charged with dangerous driving after dragging a policeman along the road, has been cleared after claiming he was not in control of his car.Anthony Braithwaite, 31, of Johnson Close, Ipswich, had pleaded not guilty to the charge at Norwich Crown Court.
A MAN charged with dangerous driving after dragging a policeman along the road, has been cleared after claiming he was not in control of his car.
Anthony Braithwaite, 31, of Johnson Close, Ipswich, had pleaded not guilty to the charge at Norwich Crown Court.
He is today a free man, after a jury of ten men and two women took under an hour to reach their verdict, following a two-day trial.
Luke Brown, prosecuting, told the court that, at 8.15pm on November 25, three unmarked police cars had boxed in Braithwaite at the junction of Farrow Road, in Norwich, when he stopped for a red light.
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Plain-clothed Detective Inspector John Blazeby had leant into Braithwaite's car, a green BMW convertible, took Braithwaite's arm and said, "police stop".
The car leapt forward veering onto the grass verge and the pavement.
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Although the officer had let go of Braithwaite's arm, Mr Blazeby was dragged along by the car when it began to move.
The BMW ended up wedged between a brick wall and a lamp-post with Mr Blazeby's foot to be trapped between the car and the wall.
It took five minutes before he could be released.
Braithwaite pleaded his innocence, telling police that his foot had pressed the accelerator by mistake.
Mr Braithwaite said, "I was in a panic because someone had jumped in my car and it was all going mad. There was shouting and I heard a voice, but I didn't know he was talking to me."
The officer was wearing heavy-soled shoes and was not seriously hurt.
Mr Braithwaite said: "It was dark and foggy. I didn't know who it was.
"For all I know it was someone trying to hijack or car-jack me. I was surprised and shocked. Everything just went haywire. I didn't hear anyone identify themselves and there was a lot of shouting."
Mr Braithwaite insisted that although the car "reared forward", it was not deliberate.
He said when waiting at red lights, he always has the car in first gear and his foot on the clutch at biting point.
"From the time someone took my arm, I was not in control," he added.