2 Dec 2015

Murder charge over Queensland truck death

5:38 pm on 2 December 2015

A New Zealander is facing a murder charge in Queensland, after the police say another man was pushed into the path of an oncoming truck in a road rage incident.

Brisbane Magistrates Court

The accused appeared today at the Brisbane Magistrates Court. Photo: AAP

Tamate Heke, a 36-year-old storeman, is accused of killing Shane Merrigan, 50, on the Pacific Highway south of Brisbane yesterday afternoon.

The police said Mr Merrigan was assaulted, causing him to fall onto the road and into the path of the rubbish truck.

In the Brisbane Magistrates Court this morning, Mr Heke had his head down and did not look at the gallery in an appearance that lasted less than a minute.

Mr Heke's lawyer Adam Magill told RNZ the dead man had been tailgating his client.

"He's engaging in like a road rage-type incident to a point where my client's pulled over," he said.

"There's been words, there's been an altercation. During the course of the altercation, it's alleged that the victim has been pushed or somehow managed to get in front of a truck, of which he's died of his injuries at the scene."

Mr Magill said Mr Heke was due to get married and his fiancee flew in from New Zealand to support him in court.

His client was devastated, he said. "He's not handling it very well at all... He was just due to go home next week; his fiancee flew home this morning."

Mr Heke did not plead and no application was made for bail.

He will reappear in court on 25 January.