A DEFENDANT charged with possessing a knife in the city centre was unable to appear in court because “he was the victim of a hit and run”, a court has heard.

Simon King, of no fixed abode, had been injured in the incident in November, his lawyer said.

King, 57, had been due to face charges of causing religiously or racially aggravated fear and possessing a lock knife in Colchester High Street.

Raphael Piggott, defending, told magistrates that King was not physically able to attend court because of physical injuries caused by a hit and run and a subsequent assault.

He said: “The defendant was the victim of a hit and run incident in November – he was on crutches in the town centre and was attacked by someone on the street.

“He suffered a break to his femur and is pretty much immobilised at the moment, so he asks this matter is adjourned.

“He should be able to provide medical evidence in due course.”

Chair of the bench Andrew Campbell released King on unconditional bail.

A new date for a court hearing, when King is expected to enter formal pleas to the charges, has been set for Thursday, July 4.