Cycling activist Martin Turner not guilty of assaulting bus driver

Magistrate acquits activist Martin Turner over dispute with Citybus driver in Causeway Bay

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 July, 2014, 3:28am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 July, 2014, 4:57am

A cycling activist accused of hitting a bus driver three times in an altercation over the man's driving was acquitted of assault yesterday.

Eastern Court Deputy Magistrate Lee Siu-ho said prosecutors failed to prove Martin Turner had committed an intentional and unlawful assault on Citybus driver Leung Kwong-kit.

The court heard that on March 12, Turner - the chairman of the Hong Kong Cycling Alliance - accused Leung of changing lanes dangerously after the cyclist had been forced to stop on Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay.

The activist boarded the bus to record the driver's name and registration number. But Leung said he called police after Turner "made a scene" and interfered with the operation of the bus.

Leung said they both got off the bus and Turner hit him three times. He said he dodged the first blow, but the other two landed.

But two videos, one from a camera installed on Turner's helmet, did not show any assault, defence counsel James McGowan argued.

The barrister told the court his client stayed on the bus for only 30 seconds and had been unlawfully detained by Leung while trying to leave.

"You never asked [Turner] to get off the bus," he put to Leung on Wednesday, to which the driver agreed.

Yesterday, shopkeeper Cheung Choi-wing - a witness seen in one of the videos - said he saw Leung hit by Turner at least three times, but he said the blows did not appear deliberate.

McGowan suggested to Cheung that Turner had simply been trying to leave the bus, a possibility the witness accepted.

The defence counsel also challenged Leung's recollection of the event. He said the driver claimed Turner picked up his bike as soon as he got off the bus, although one of the videos showed otherwise.

The prosecution said the discrepancies in the evidence were due to the short-lived nature of the assault.

But McGowan argued the medical report also showed Leung suffered no injuries apart from one to his shin. He said it was accidental and had happened in a struggle between Leung and Turner over the bike.

Turner has been spearheading campaigns to get more people cycling in Hong Kong.