17 Dec 2013

Man jailed after injuring cyclist

8:47 pm on 17 December 2013

A 22-year-old dairy farmer found guilty by a jury of injuring a cyclist training for an Ironman event has been sentenced to two years and eight months' jail.

Joseph Roberts was sentenced in the Rotorua District Court on Tuesday for causing grievous bodily harm to Alasdair Slade with intent to injure.

Mr Slade has represented New Zealand in triathlon events and was cycling near Reporoa, between Rotorua and Taupo, in February this year when Roberts crossed into his lane while overtaking another car.

Mr Slade made a hand gesture at Roberts, who did a U-turn, sped past and stopped. After doing this two more times, he got out of his car and pushed Mr Slade onto the road.

In sentencing, Judge Phillip Cooper said it was no surprise that Mr Slade suffered serious injuries to his hip and shoulder.

"To push the complainant off his bike when he is travelling at a speed of about 120 kilometres per hour with an intent to injure, it is hardly surprising that the injuries that resulted were serious. It may be that you didn't forsee the seriousness of the injuries but serious injuries were forseeable and unsurprising."

The court was told that Mr Slade is now unable to do many things he could do before.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Slade said there are many drivers who think cyclists are no more than an inconvenience on the road.

"I believe there's a percentage of motorists who see cyclists just as an inconvenience and an irritation, people to breeze past with little thought or consequence. But it needs to be remembered that driving is a responsibility and a privilege which can be easily lost."

Mr Slade has accepted an offer of reparation from Roberts' family made outside the court. However, he said he has never received an apology from Roberts.