Judge horrified by road rage attack on bus driver

Dunedin District Court. Photo: ODT files
Dunedin District Court. Photo: ODT files
A Dunedin man’s road-rage attack which left a bus driver with a broken nose "defies belief", a judge says.

Joseph Rangi Taihaere Wilson, 44, appeared in the Dunedin District Court last week, where he was sentenced to five months’ home detention.

"This offending horrifies me. How anyone can do this I do not know," Judge Dominic Flatley said at an earlier hearing.

On June 28, Wilson was driving north in Playfair St.

A court summary of facts noted there was a "brief incident" but the bus driver later said he was unaware of what had put him in the defendant’s crosshairs.

At the intersection of Barnes Dr and Caversham Valley Rd, Wilson got out of his car and confronted the victim.

After the tirade, he punched the man in the face through an open window.

While the bus driver tended to his broken nose, Wilson got back into his car and continued the verbal onslaught as traffic backed up behind him

He then drove off, the court heard.

At the original sentencing in February, Judge Flatley noted Wilson had not attended a restorative justice meeting with the victim.

Staring down the barrel of a term of imprisonment, the defendant said he now wanted to meet the bus driver, and the hearing was postponed to allow that to take place.

At the reconvened sentencing last week, counsel Rhona Daysh said the meeting between the two parties had been successful.

"He cried and they shook hands," she said.

Ms Daysh stressed her client had been T-boned in an accident a month beforehand and suggested his overreaction was driven by that experience.

The court heard Wilson had only a handful of lower-level convictions to his name, the last of which came in 2016.

But Judge Flatley said the most recent attack had had "huge impact" on the victim, who operated a service for children with disabilities.

"It really defies belief ... I don’t understand why anybody would do that to another person," he said.

Since Wilson had pleaded guilty to injuring with reckless disregard, acknowledged what he did was "terribly, terribly wrong" and apologised to the victim, the judge said a jail term was not warranted.