NOT GUILTY: Retired Lawyer Cleared Of Doorstep Assault Charge Against Legal Rival's Son
A retired senior partner at the world's largest law firm, accused of assaulting the son of a bitter legal rival on the doorstep of his £2m home when served with a £15,000 court bill, was cleared yesterday.
Donald George Jerrard, 65, co-founder of the Justice and Anti-Corruption Party and former Ukip candidate denied putting 32 year-old David Harvey into a headlock - claiming he was protecting his terrified wife.
Mr. Jerrard, of The Coach House, Petersfield Road, Greatham, Liss, Hampshire says he is trying to expose peadophiles in his home county, but is currently subject to a High Court gagging order brought by local firm Harveys Solicitors.
"There is a most unattractive, vitriolic and complex feud between the defendant and the father of the complainant," announced District Judge Barbara Barnes at Wimbledon Magistrates Court, clearing Mr. Jerrard of assaulting Mr. Harvey on August 11, last year.
Southampton-born Cambridge University graduate Mr. Jerrard - a former senior partner at Baker & McKenzie - stood for parliament in the last general election and polled 99 votes for the Justice and Anti-Corruption Party in the Portsmouth South constituency.
A local parish councillor, he has also stood stood as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and has spent £78,000 in legal fees while clearing his name in a case dogged by multiple adjournments.
He has motion-activated CCTV outside his home, an arson protection system in every room, intruder alarm systems and a police radio alarm system since his Mercedes was set ablaze while attending a parish council meeting.
On the day of the incident Mr. Harvey - son of local solicitor Mark Harvey - was acting as a process server and delivering court papers regarding an order for £15,000 costs against Mr. Jerrard.
However, the Jerrard's saw it as an act of intimidation and the defendant's wife Susan Jerrard, 64, told the court: "We've been persecuted and intimidated by his father for nearly five years now.
"I felt vulnerable and intimidated. I felt I was a victim and he was invading my privacy.
"My husband has been trying to expose his (Mark Harvey's) wrongdoings. My husband intervened to protect me, he was trying to push him out of the front door."
Mr. Jerrard told the court: "There's no way on earth I put him in a headlock. This should never have been brought to court, it was a scuffle on the doorstep that he says lasted two to three seconds.
"He's grossly exaggerated what happened. I got hold of him by the shoulders as best I could and pushed him out of the house.
"I said: 'I'm arresting you for harassment' and he said: 'That's assault.'
"I was protecting my wife, I was scared she would have a stroke or a heart attack because she had trauma therapy two days before. I did think I was genuinely arresting him.
"Twice we have had police protection because of what we were dealing with at the time. We have had threats at our house, death threats even.
"The very thought of Mark Harvey makes her ill and frightened. He (David Harvey) lunged towards her, he leant into the house to put papers in, but I did not know that at the time.
"She was in a state of panic and said: 'Quick' and I went past her and got between her and him and got hold of him."
Mr. Jerrard has Multiple Sclerosis and suffered stress-related blindness in his right eye for three-and-a-half years, which he says is not helped by Harvey Solicitors often employing eastern european gypsies to serve legal documents at his home.
"Susan has been having psychiatric treatment and Mark Harvey has been told even an email from him to my wife would traumatise her. I considered his son was virtually assaulting my wife.
"It still traumatises my wife to this day. She wakes up thinking about it."
The Jerrard family denied a prosecution suggestion they "fiddled" with their CCTV and deleted the incident because it was damaging to the defendant.
District Judge Barnes said: "David Harvey was neither a credible or convincing witness in this case. I don't find it credible he was unaware of the bitter feud and don't believe he went there with no ulterior motive."
She agreed Mr. Jerrard's legals costs should be refunded.