Film agent cleared of assault and dangerous driving charges after YouTuber “jumped” on his car
The Theatrical agent drove for 65ft with a cycling activist on the bonnet of his Range Rover
Theatrical Agent, Paul Lyon-Maris, who has previously represented Oscar-winner Colin Firth and Lord Of The Rings actor Sir Ian McKeller, has been cleared of assault and dangerous driving after telling a jury YouTuber Michael Van Erp “jumped” on his car.
The agent is said to lost his temper when Van Erp tried to stop him driving on the wrong side of the road.
In a hearing at Southwark Crown Court, the Jury were told that the 60-year-old had pulled out of a queue of traffic in the outer circle of Regent’s Park in central London during morning rush-hour on September 9 last year because he was late for a physiotherapy appointment.
Prosecutor James Dean said he “used his car as a weapon” in an act of “road rage” against Mr Van Erp, who is known for catching motorists, including ex-boxer Chris Eubank and film director Guy Ritchie, breaking road laws.
Video footage caught on Mr Van Erp’s GoPro head camera and selfie stick showed the 50-year-old road safety activist, known for running the CyclingMikey YouTube channel, being carried on the bonnet for an estimated 65ft.
During the hearing he told jurors he fell on to the vehicle “like a crash test dummy” when Mr Lyon-Maris drove at him twice before turning a corner and coming to a stop around 20 yards after the junction.
The agent who is a director at Independent Talent Group, said he felt “intimidated” when Mr Van Erp “jumped” on his bonnet.
Mr Lyon-Maris, from Belsize Park, north-west London, denied dangerous driving and common assault and was acquitted of both offences by a jury after three hours and 51 minutes of deliberations on Thursday.
This isn’t the first dangerous driving case for Lyon-Maris. The agent has previously pleaded guilty to ignoring a Keep Left sign to make a right turn and was fined at the magistrates’ court, the jury heard.
The judge, Recorder Jonathan Bellamy, said: “I wish Mr Lyon-Maris luck in his profession and elsewhere.”
Mr Van Erp, who works as a carer, told how he gained “notoriety” after broadcaster Jeremy Vine retweeted one of his videos of him on the bonnet of a silver Mercedes on the same stretch of road.
Dutch national Mr Van Erp, who was born in Zimbabwe, claims to have been responsible for hundreds of prosecutions against motorists.
Prosecutors dropped a charge of using a mobile phone while driving against football manager and former player Frank Lampard after he was filmed in traffic by the cyclist.
Mr Van Erp told the jury he accepted stepping out in front of vehicles is “risky” but added: “I look at it in the same way as taking the keys off a drink driver – I want to stop the immediate harm.”
In video footage of the incident played in court, he can be heard asking: “Why are you driving into me?”
Mr Lyon-Maris, whose partner of 33 years, Robin Muir, was in the passenger seat, is saying: “I have got an appointment at 8.30am” and “Get out of the way.”’
He told police who arrived on the scene: “He threw himself on my bonnet.”
While giving evidence, Mr Lyon-Maris said he did not know who Mr Van Erp was or what he was doing before he stepped out in front of him, telling jurors: “I did not move forward. He jumped on to the bonnet, moved back and jumped on again.”
He said he was “surprised and a little intimidated” during the incident and insisted: “I’m not a person who becomes enraged.”
He added: “It was a potentially aggressive and dangerous man on my bonnet, and I thought the safest option was to move slowly forward into a road which had plenty of space and try to avoid anything else that might occur.”