Former Blenheim horseman Richard James Hayden claims a gust of wind spooked his horses and caused the motor accident that led to him facing a charge of endangering safety.
He made his assertion in the Christchurch District Court yesterday when a not guilty plea was recorded on the charge and he was remanded on bail to a case review hearing on July 22.
The case is heading for a trial, which Hayden has requested to be conducted in Maori. Judge Christopher Somerville said that was his right.
Hayden says he was riding one horse and leading the other when a gust of wind spooked the horses, causing him to fall from the saddle and lose his grip on the second horse which then jumped a chain fence and ran off.
Police say the horse was running loose about 7.45pm on April 7 when it was struck by a car on Brougham St. The car was damaged, the driver received minor injuries, and the horse had to be put down.
After the case was first called at court yesterday, it had to be delayed because Hayden was "attending to an animal". He had arrived at the Court House with a horse.
When the case was called again, he entered the dock and said he would represent himself. He asked for the charge to be withdrawn because the owner of the car involved in the accident was not seeking reparation for the damage.
After a discussion with the judge, the not guilty plea was recorded and the remand on bail was granted.
- The Marlborough Express
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