A high-profile Brisbane road rage case has ended in odd circumstances, with a hung jury.
Tamate Henry Heke, a New Zealand father of three, is fighting allegations that he struck Shane Merrigan before he was fatally hit by a passing garbage truck on the side of a Brisbane Motorway in December, 2015.
During the week long trial, the jury heard that Mr Merrigan drove aggressively behind Mr Heke, tailgating and cursing at him.
Witnesses said that they saw Mr Heke and Mr Merrigan pull over on the side of the motorway and begin arguing.
Mr Heke’s defence team told the court that the punch delivered by Mr Henke prior to his death may have been an act of self-defence and suggested that Mr Merrigan threw the first punch, an allegation unable to be rebutted by any of the prosecution’s witnesses.
Crown Prosecutor Clare Kelly urged the jurors to convict Heke, claiming the punch caused Merrgian’s death. “It really is just a matter of common sense … that the punch lead to Mr Merrigan’s death” she said.
The jury retired on Friday at 11am, before twice telling Justice Peter Applegarth that they were unable to reach a unanimous decision.
Justice Applegarth directed the jury to continue its deliberations, stating that he would accept a majority verdict.
On Monday the jury returned saying that it was unable to reach a majority decision and was subsequently dismissed by Justice Applegarth.
While Mr. Henke was not convicted of manslaughter, nor of unlawful striking causing death. However he was not acquitted either, the Director of Public Prosecutions will need to decide whether to try the case again.