MP found not guilty of careless driving causing injury
Whanganui MP Chester Borrows has been found not guilty of careless driving causing injury to two protestors in his electorate last year.
Judge Stephanie Edwards handed down her decision on Tuesday following a two-day trial in the Whanganui District Court.
Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett is celebrating, tweeting "wahoooooo" in response to a journalist's tweet about the verdict.
Mr Borrows was on trial in the Whanganui District Court charged with careless driving causing injury following an anti-TPP protest in his electorate in March last year.
Earlier on Tuesday he said he feared a protester might smash his car window with a dildo at a protest where it was alleged he struck two activists with his vehicle.
Two protesters claimed they were struck by the car and suffered minor injuries when protesters blocked the path of Mr Borrows' car as it tried to leave a motel.
Mr Borrows tried to get the case thrown out on Monday, the first day of the trial, but Judge Stephanie Edwards rejected the bid.
The former Minister for the Courts began giving evidence this morning.
He told the court that he feared his two passengers - Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett and her press secretary - could be hurt when he left the motel and was confronted by protesters.
Mr Borrows said before the protest he raised concerns with police about a Facebook post made by activist Phillip Reweti, who wrote "see you shortly b*****!" in post linked to a story about Ms Bennett. Underneath the post he also posted a photo of a dildo with "Paula B" written on it.
Before he left the motel in March where the protest took place he had seen Mr Reweti with the dildo outside the venue.
"He was waving out his dildo and saying he had a present for my passenger," he told the court.
He was also concerned about another protester - who had been swearing and yelling throughout the day - as they were holding wooden baton attached to an anti-TPP sign.
"I was concerned the wooden baton could be used to belt a hole through the windscreen," he said.
Mr Borrows says these threats were on his mind when a small group of protesters walked in front of his vehicle, blocking his path as he tried to leave a motel in March last year.
"I drove up to them slowed down put my foot on the brake and padded the brake as the car inched forward," he said.
Mr Borrows says he used his judgement as a former police officer and didn't put anyone in danger. When asked why he didn't come to a complete stop, he says he feared someone would jump onto his car or throw something.
Mr Borrows is not running for re-election this year.
If convicted, he faced up to three years jail or a $4500 fine, and disqualification from driving for at least six months.
NZN / Newshub.