'I was a victim' says driver accused over road rage death

Tamate Heke arrives at court today. Picture: Liam Kidston
Tamate Heke arrives at court today. Picture: Liam Kidston

A JURY has been urged to consider that a man accused of a fatal one-punch attack alongside a busy motorway was the "victim of road rage" like a scene out of the Fast and the Furious movies.

Tamate Heke, 38, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and an alternative charge of unlawful striking causing death when his trial began in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday.

Heke allegedly punched 50-year-old Shane Merrigan in the head, causing him to fall onto the Gateway Motorway and underneath the wheels of a garbage truck, at Eight Mile Plains in December 2015.

Today, his defence barrister Anthony Kimmins is making his closing address to the jury and has suggested the lead-up to the incident was like a scene out of The Fast and the Furious.

He claimed Mr Merrigan was tailgating Heke and "mouthing off".

Shane Merrigan died in December 2015.
Shane Merrigan died in December 2015.

Heke then pulled into the right lane behind Mr Merrigan, according to Mr Kimmins, and Mr Merrigan started braking in front of him.

"He's (Heke) effectively blocked in with the deceased in front of him," Mr Kimmins said.

He asked the jury to consider that Heke "was a victim of road rage that afternoon".

"Just stop and think if you were in his car and that occurred to you that afternoon," he said.

"What would be going through your mind? Would you know what this person was capable of?

"Would you be concerned about what was going to happen next?"

Mr Kimmins said it was probably the biggest mistake of Heke's life to pull over when Mr Merrigan motioned for him to do so.

He said it seemed the only "sin" Heke committed to draw the ire of Mr Merrigan was refusing to go more than 105km/hr in a 100km/hr zone.

Prosecutor Clare Kelly made her closing address to the jury yesterday, and suggested Heke's police interview in which he described the incident was a "multitude of lies".

The trial continues.

Topics:  court editors picks road rage

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