A driver filmed screaming at British television presenter Jeremy Vine as he rode his bike has been warned she could face jail, despite her lawyer claiming that she has already been "punished"on social media.
Shanique Syrena Pearson shouted abuse at the BBC star, made a gun sign and threatened to knock him out during the row as he cycled on a narrow road with parked cars on both sides.
The 22-year-old single mother was told on Wednesday she might face prison after being convicted at Hammersmith Magistrates' Court of road rage offences.
But Pearson's defence lawyer, James O'Keeffe, said she was vilified on social media after Vine posted a video of the spat on Facebook and Twitter, where he has almost 600,000 followers.
O'Keeffe, who previously claimed Vine had "racially stereotyped"his client "as a black person", has "had his 50 million hits"on social media.
District Judge Timothy King said he found Vine, who did not attend the hearing, to be a "credible, truthful and reliable"witness who had not exaggerated his account of what happened.
"His manner of cycling was perfectly appropriate for the conditions," he added.
He said it was reasonable that the presenter feared for his safety after Pearson threatened him and formed a weapon with her fingers cocked at his head.
Pearson, who has a number of previous convictions including assaults and theft, rolled her eyes and shook her head as the decision was announced.
She left court with a jacket over her head and told reporters outside: "I'm not happy."
Her latest offences were committed while she was subject to a suspended sentence and her case has been sent to the crown court.
Judge King said: "The court will decide whether the suspended sentence imposed should be activated in whole or in part."
Her lawyer, O'Keeffe, described how his client had "suffered substantially"after Vine, the presenter of the BBC programme Crimewatch, posted the video clip online.
"He wanted that person to be punished, not just in court but on the internet and in the media, and she has been," said O'Keeffe.
"She has been racially abused and suffered substantially because of that judgment by Mr Vine, someone prominent in the media, and he has had his 50 million hits."
The row was captured by 51-year-old Vine on his helmet camera during the ride from his home in Chiswick, west London, to BBC offices near Oxford Circus.
He was cycling in the middle of Hornton Street in Kensington, west London, which had parked cars on either side, on August 26 last year, but stopped after being hooted at by the driver of a black Vauxhall Corsa behind him.
In the video clip, Pearson can be heard screaming expletives at Vine, who tries to explain why he was riding down the centre of the narrow street, before she kicks and pushes the cyclist and his bike.
She denied making a threat, and claimed to have put her middle finger up at the presenter, who she thought was "a bit crazy"for following her after their initial row.
Pearson, of Vauxhall, south-west London, has been convicted of driving an unlicensed vehicle, driving without reasonable consideration for other road users and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.
She was released on bail and will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court at a date yet to be set.
Vine tweeted after the verdict that he was "extremely grateful"to the police and Crown Prosecution Service.
"People who say 'cyclists shouldn't be on the road as they don't pay tax' should reflect that in this incident, only one of us was paying tax and insurance on a car - and it was the person on the bike," he said in a statement shared online.
He also retweeted Pearson, who appears to have threatened another cyclist on Twitter with a post from her account bragging that she will be "straight back behind the wheel"and adding "let's up you don't ever infront of my car cah I wouldn't b stopping (SIC)" followed by a smiley emoji.
After the case, Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Kunal Davé said: "Pearson's behaviour was unprovoked and completely unacceptable.
"There was no reason for her to threaten and abuse Jeremy Vine, who, like thousands of cyclists in London each day, was only trying to get home safely, and her excuse that she was shocked and concerned for Mr Vine was not accepted today.
"This case demonstrates that road users who use threatening and abusive behaviour could well find themselves facing a criminal prosecution."
- Originally published on Telegraph UK