A NEW Zealand man who punched a motorist into the path of a garbage truck in a shocking road rage attack on Brisbane’s Gateway Motorway has been found guilty of unlawful striking causing death.
Shane Merrigan, 50, died after he was punched in the head and fell under the wheels of a garbage truck during an argument with Tamate Heke, 39, on the side of the busy motorway in December 2015.
Heke told the court during his trial, which began in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday, that Mr Merrigan had been tailgating him for several kilometres before motioning for him to pull over.
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The 39-year-old’s barrister claimed his client punched Mr Merrigan in self defense after the older man allegedly shoved him twice and threw the first punch.
Heke had initially pleaded not guilty to both manslaughter and the alternative charge of unlawful striking causing death.
It took the 12-person Supreme Court jury just 3.5 hours to find him guilty of the later charge on Thursday.
It was the second time the 39-year-old had been on trial over the manslaughter charge, after a jury failed to reach a verdict in 2017.
He will be sentenced tomorrow.
The Courier Mail revealed on Thursday that Mr Merrigan had a long history of road rage which was tabled in court during a bail application for Heke immediately after the attack.
The jury in Heke’s trial was not aware of Mr Merrigan’s history.