LATEST: A Waitara truck driver has been found guilty of putting cyclists' lives at risk during last year's Around the Mountain Cycle Challenge.
Daniel Brian Coxhead, 31, had denied 13 counts of dangerous driving during the popular annual event staged on Saturday, January 28 last year.
This afternoon, Judge Peter Butler found Coxhead guilty of nine of the 13 charges. Three charges were dismissed.
Coxhead was disqualified from driving for eight months, ordered to pay witnesses' costs of $525 and to pay court costs of $132.89 for each of the charges he was convicted on.
Judge Butler said he kept the disqualification period down because he ''was keenly aware of the consequences for you and your young family''.
During the two-day defended hearing earlier this week nine cyclists from all over the North Island came forward to tell how they feared for their lives.
Several described how Coxhead came as close as 30cm to them as he passed them on the open road in a Budget rental truck.
Others told how they saw him deliberately veer towards the cyclists as they rode along State Highway 3 from Monmouth Rd, Stratford to New Plymouth and how he tooted at others.
Coxhead, who broke down in the witness box while giving evidence in his defence, countered that he had taken care not to get within one metre of the cyclists and had held his line on the road to avoid oncoming traffic.
Until Coxhead arrived at his destination in Cameron St in New Plymouth he was unaware he had been followed by an off-duty police officer.
The officer remonstrated with Coxhead after pulling up in his Isuzu truck behind the Budget truck at Cameron St.
The officer's wife gave evidence how she heard an angry Coxhead tell her husband that he hated cyclists on the road and that he hated "pigs" even more.
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