Motorist cleared of deliberately driving into pedestrian (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Leytonstone man James Morris cleared of all charges at Snaresbrook Crown Court after incident near Leytonstone tube station
A motorist has been cleared of deliberately driving into a pedestrian before punching another man in the face as he gave a police statement.
James Morris, 36, of Lister Road, Leytonstone, was accused of reversing his van to get a longer run-up when he found Reuben Lychev and Petr Hristov blocking the road.
The prosecution claimed he knocked Mr Lychev unconscious before returning to the scene while Mr Hristov was talking to police and punching him in the face in front of an officer.
In a police interview Morris claimed he had revved his engine to get the two men to move out of the road, but they had started to hit the van.
He also claimed he and his passengers were attacked by the two men and that anything he did was in self-defence.
The court heard Mr Lychev and Mr Hristov were initially arrested at the scene after being accused of assault.
Morris also told police he had punched Mr Hristov by mistake, but did not explain how Mr Lychev had been knocked unconscious.
He was also accused of elbowing a police officer in the stomach when he was arrested following a chase in Leytonstone High Road.
Morris stood trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday accused of grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm, dangerous driving and assault by beating.
But a jury of eight women and four men found Morris not guilty on all charges.
The alleged incident was said to have taken place near Leytonstone tube station at around 10.30pm on September 7 last year.