Cam rowers loose court case against boater

Published: Wednesday, 14 March 2018

ROWING marshals organising a rowing event objected to a narrowboat on the Cam at Cambridge, so seized it and then accused the boater of an attack.

But James Deane was a member of the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) who represented him at the ensuing  court case and he was cleared  of an alleged assault after the rowing marshalls claimed he had attacked them.

James was attacked

It was James who was found to have been attacked after he had been arrested for the alleged assault on one of the marshalls, being found not guilty of all charges, with the District Judge at Huntingdon Magistrates Court, stating that James had acted lawfully and with ‘less than reasonable force’ to defend himself and his houseboat from the attack' by the marshalls.

The NBTA maintained that the marshals had acted unlawfully and without authority, effectively taking the law into their own hands by seizing the man’s boat, to which the judge agreed, also agreeing that the marshalls had falsely claimed that the boater was navigating in the authorised area of the race, that was held on the 3rd December 2016, which he was not.

Marshall a former policeman

In its statement, the NBTA reported:

'Rowing Marshal Tony Nelder appears to have coerced the police into arresting Mr Deane and then instigated a slanderous media campaign against him. Nelder, a former policeman, is alleged to have dragged James Deane off his boat.

The hammer was shown to have only been used as a barrier to prevent further attack by the marshals and at no point came into contact with anyone, although the marshals and the media implied that it had been used as a weapon'.

Completely lawfully

Eventually, Race Marshall, Tony Nelder, accepted that the man he allegedly attacked was in fact navigating completely lawfully in an area outside of the race location.

This is the latest event of the long running hostility between rowers and boaters on the Cam at Cambridge, with rowers generally believing the river is for their own personal use.