Jail for attack on cyclists

A LAUNCESTON magistrate has drawn a line in the sand, jailing a man for attacking two cyclists last year.

Kane Jae Denney, 25, of Ravenswood, was left shell-shocked after receiving two weeks' prison for throwing a glass bottle at a female cyclist, which struck her wheel, and then punching her riding partner.

Denney had contested the charges but was found guilty yesterday by magistrate Reg Marron. 

``I need to send to the community a loud and clear message that cyclists are road users like anyone else and don't deserve to be used as a moving target by the likes of yourself,'' he said in the Launceston Magistrates Court.

``That was a completely unprovoked action in throwing that bottle.

``The potential had that bottle actually hit the cyclist could have caused a very serious injury.'' 

Members of the cycling community welcomed the sending of a tough message by the judiciary. 

Cycling Tasmania executive officer Colin Burns said regardless of whether it was a cyclist or not, that type of behaviour should feel ``the full force of the law''.

``As a cyclist this does happen though. Often things are thrown at cyclists, they just forget they are normal human beings,'' he said. 

``I have been in races where people have gone past and thrown stubbies . . . in Victoria they've gone around and hit people with PVC piping as they've ridden down the road.

``That's good that the local magistrates here are taking it seriously.''

The court heard Denney threw the bottle at the biker rider as she rode along Westbury Road at Prospect in October.

The bottle smashed on the woman's front wheel. Her riding partner, who was in front, then confronted Denney.

An argument ensued and a witness standing in the Old Tudor car park said Denney struck the man.

Both men started wrestling and witnesses helped restrain Denney until policed arrived.

Mr Marron did not accept Denney's story that he'd tripped while walking, causing the bottle to fall out of his hand, or that he'd been drinking only fruit juice that day.

Denney conceded that he may have struck the man, who admitted he had been angry and upset, but only in self-defence.

Mr Marron said Denney's response was not acceptable and found he had been drinking alcohol.

Yesterday the female rider, whose bike was damaged in the incident, told  The Examiner  that she initially planned to keep riding after the bottle was thrown.

``But I thought, `he's just going to do it to someone else','' she said.

The woman said she was happy with the outcome. 

The man who was hit in the head said he wasn't sure if jail was necessary but ``I guess you do need to make an example of somebody''.

His cheek was bruised in the incident, the court heard. 

Mr Marron sentenced Denney to two weeks' prison for recklessly discharging a missile to the danger of another person and one week's jail for common assault, to be served concurrently.

Attempts were made to contact his lawyers to see if they would appeal against the sentence.