Farmer sent to prison for injuring cyclist

By Dana Kinita -
Joseph Roberts, 22, was sentenced to more than two years' prison in the Rotorua District Court today.
Joseph Roberts, 22, was sentenced to more than two years' prison in the Rotorua District Court today.

A dairy farmer who assaulted and seriously injured an Ironman cyclist has been sent to prison.

Joseph Arthur Frederick Roberts, 22, appeared in the Rotorua District Court this morning before Judge Phillip Cooper for sentencing on a charge of injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to cyclist Alasdair Slade, who was training for the Ironman New Zealand in Taupo. He was found guilty by a jury last month.

Roberts was sentenced to two years and eight months' prison.

The incident happened in February on Broadlands Rd in Reporoa after Mr Slade made a two-fingered gesture at Roberts and yelled at him to get into his own lane.

That angered Roberts who did a U-turn and pulled up in front of Mr Slade twice. Mr Slade cycled around him but on the third occasion Roberts got out of his vehicle and "pushed or shoulder barged" him off his bike.

The court heard today Mr Slade had suffered a shattered hip and needed reconstructive surgery for his collarbone and right shoulder.

He still had difficulty performing simple tasks and would continue to suffer "life-long effects".

Roberts' sister Irene Richards addressed the court before her brother was sentenced.
"We want to acknowledge the hurt and suffering of the victim and his family and offer our sincere apologies," she said.

"We don't understand how this occurred but ultimately as a family shoulder the blame."

Judge Cooper said there had been no meaningful expression of remorse by Roberts other than a letter of apology to Mr Slade before sentencing.

"Up until this point you have showed no level of responsibility, that letter of apology can not be taken as a meaningful expression of remorse, your actions through this case have been inconsistent of true remorse," he said.

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