Bus driver walks free from assault charge as court finds he was provoked into punching cyclist
by: Mark Oberhardt
From: The Courier-Mail
October 26, 2011 12:36PM
A BRISBANE City council bus driver has been acquitted of assaulting a cyclist after a jury found he was provoked into punching the man.
A District Court jury in Brisbane had been asked to consider only one aspect to the case - whether Leon James Zahnow was provoked when he assaulted cyclist Gregory Ralph Jardine in Given Tce, Paddington, about 7.30am on December 10, 2009.
The jury retired to consider its verdict at 10.45am Wednesday and returned with a not guilty verdict shortly after noon.
Judge Richard Jones told the jury that the legal term provocation was never an easy one but they had obviously given the matter considerable thought.
Judge Jones thanked the jury for its efforts and then discharged Mr Zahnow.
The trial heard Mr Jardine, an architect, was on a morning bike ride, when he got into an argument with Mr Zahnow after Mr Jardine "adjusted or interfered'' with the side mirror of the bus driven by Zahnow.
It was alleged Mr Jardine had been upset at how close the bus came to him.
The pair both eventually stopped down the road, with Mr Zahnow asking Mr Jardine to re-adjust his mirror to its original position.
Mr Jardine tried to adjust the mirror and then the bus's windscreen wipers, resulting in Mr Zahnow pushing Mr Jardine backwards, over his bicycle.
The trial heard they continued to argue, with Mr Jardine pulling a pen from Mr Zahnow's pocket and dropping it on the ground.
It was alleged Mr Jardine then called Mr Zahnow "stupid and fat'', resulting in Mr Zahnow punching the cyclist in the face.
Mr Zahnow pleaded not guilty to one count of assaulting Mr Jardine and causing him bodily harm.