Richard James Hayden, accused of being the owner of a horse
that escaped and caused an accident on a Christchurch
motorway, arrives at court on his horse Beauti-foal. Photo
/ Kurt Bayer
A well-known Christchurch personality who rides a horse
through city streets and takes it to local bars arrived at
court today on horseback, and represented himself in the dock
Richard James Hayden, 46, hitched his horse, Beauti-foal
outside Christchurch District Court this morning where it
grazed on Ministry of Justice grass.
The homeless man then appealed that a charge of endangering
safety - when his other horse Archie escaped his control last
year and galloped down a Christchurch motorway where it was
struck by a car, and later put down - should be dropped.
He stood in the dock, representing himself, and argued that
he was doing nothing wrong at the time.
Judge Somerville said the charge was a legitimate one, read a
police summary of facts, and quizzed Hayden as to how the
horse came to escape from his control on April 7 this year.
Hayden claimed his case was strong and indicated that he
would take it to trial where he believed he would be
He said that he had been at a church in Addington that
evening when a gust of wind spooked his horse, causing him to
fall off the horse he was riding, and for Archie's reigns to
come out of his grasp.
Archie then leaped over a chain fence and took off "in a
terrified gallop", Hayden told the court.
Archie galloped for around 2km before he was struck on the
dual carriageway of Brougham Street about 7.45pm.
Police said the complainant who was driving had not sought
reparation for damage to his car. The driver received minor
Judge Somerville entered a not-guilty plea, and the case will
go to trial. Hayden asked for it to be heard in Te Reo Maori,
which is his legal right.
Hayden later caused a fracas in court, claiming he wanted to
leave to "check his animals" but had to remain in court to
sign some documents.
Afterwards, he rounded up his muzzled terrier and a newborn
puppy that he put in his rucksack, and mounted Beauti-foal.
He told APNZ he intended to represent himself at trial, and
again reiterated that he had a strong case.
A woman who had just come out of court, asked for a lift, and
he gave her a ride outside the court house to much amusement,
with cars stopping traffic to take a gander, before Hayden