'Hot-headed' farmer uses four-wheel drive as weapon against cycle trail contractor in his paddock
A "hot-headed" farmer drove his four-wheel drive directly at a Southland District Council contractor and struck him, a judge has heard.
The contractor, who suffered numerous injuries, was working on the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail at the time.
Maurice Charles King, 30, admitted charges of assault with a blunt instrument and using threatening language on his farm near Athol on November 21 when he appeared for sentence in the Invercargill District Court on Tuesday.
Judge John Brandts-Giesen fined King $500 and ordered him to make a $2000 emotional harm payment and pay $1876 reparation.
A police summary of facts says King was at his sheep and beef farm when the offending occurred.
The farm has a section of the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail passing through it, with construction work under way to move the existing trail from inside the farm property to outside the farm boundary.
The victim was employed by the Southland District Council as a consultant on the cycle trail and manages the cycle trail accommodation and booking website.
A fencing contractor, employed to construct fences on the new trail with the victim, was also on the site.
King became aware the victim was in the area and drove a Mitsubishi Pajero into the paddock and directly at the victim, the police summary says.
"At the very last moment the victim heard the vehicle approaching and glanced up. He immediately dived to the left in an attempt to avoid the vehicle."
The front bumper of King's 4WD struck the victim's feet as he dived clear.
The victim's reading glasses were knocked from his head and run over by the 4WD as it passed.
The 4WD hit a stock gate and skidded before hitting a wooden fence post.
The victim suffered pain to his right hand and knuckles, severe bruising to his hip, bruising on the leg and lower back pain, the police summary says.
His body was stiff and sore in the days following the incident.
King's lawyer, Bill Dawkins, said King had never previously appeared before the courts.
The rights and wrongs of whether the victim ought to have been on the property need not be debated in the courtroom, Dawkins said.
"But you would read between the lines, there was acrimony between the two men."
King had made a prior arrangement that the victim would not be on his property because of previous acrimony, Dawkins said.
He had a "rush of blood to the head" when he saw the victim and drove towards him, always intending to move away at the last minute, Dawkins said.
"But it didn't work out that way.
"He didn't intend to knock over the victim and certainly didn't wish to involve anyone else."
Judge Brandts-Giesen said King had been remarkably stupid and hot-headed.
"Motor vehicles are a weapon, particularly when used the way you used it."
- The Southland Times