Update: A 54-year-old man has admitted to a road rage attack that left a Perth doctor unconscious and bloodied on the side of the Kwinana Freeway.
The guilty plea came mid-way through his trial today in the District Court.
Robert Wilson Shepherd had been fighting a charge of aggravated grievous bodily harm that came after he repeatedly punched and kicked general practitioner Ali Hussain after a traffic incident on the evening of November 11, 2011.
Today after hearing evidence from two witnesses who described seeing Dr Hussain being punched and kicked while on the ground, his attacker at one point seeming to leave but then returning to land more punches and a kick, Shepherd changed his plea to guilty.
Shepherd’s lawyer Terry Dobson had argued for the accused that he acted in self defence.
Prosecutor Joel Grinceri today told the jury at the start of the trial today that the case was about "the brutal unrestrained incident of road rage" which he suggested could change the personalities even placid-seeming people.
Mr Grinceri said Dr Ali Hussain had been driving home from work about 7.30pm and was a little under the 100kmh speed limit in the right lane when a car flashed at him to move over.
The prosecutor said Dr Hussain changed lanes and that as the car behind him passed, a third car driven by Shepherd allegedly tried to squeeze between them and clipped the doctors vehicle.
Dr Hussain today testified that he had honked his horn, put his hazard lights on and signalled to Shepherd to stop so they could exchange details, and that the accused man had kept driving for some way before pulling over.
The doctor told the jury he had gotten out of his car after seeing Shepherd was "nicely dressed" and seemed respectable, and had asked for his details.
He claimed he only remembered Shepherd swearing and raising a hand before he lost consciousness and later woke assisted by two police officers.
Mr Dobson today had agreed there had been an incident of "road rage" but said the defence disputed the doctor’s version of events.
"There was some road rage but it started with Mr Hussain and he pursued Shepherd and he finally forced Shepherd off the road and that’s when things turned ugly," the lawyer suggested.
Mr Dobson put to Dr Hussain that he had been annoyed and angry at the time Shepherd had taken to pull over and that he had gotten out of his car first and walked fast towards the accused man’s door.
Dr Hussain, who the court heard had suffered a broken nose and cheekbone and broken teeth, rejected the suggestions.
Mr Grinceri told the jury the alleged attack had been unprovoked.
"The reality is that this case is about the brutal unrestrained incident of road rage," Mr Grinceri.
The prosecutor suggested to the jury that while it was common for people to become annoyed by other drivers, for 99.9 per cent of drivers it ended with a honk of the horn or a few words.
However, he suggested everyone knew gentle, placid people who "when they get behind the wheel of a car they can change their personality and lose their temper at the drop of a hat".
Judge Simon Stone warned Shepherd today that he faced a jail term for the “vicious” road rage attack – a type of crime that the judge suggested was becoming more prevalent in the community and needed a deterrent.Shepherd will be sentenced on March 13, he was refused bail.
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