A man who ran over and killed a 14-year-old boy while he rode a stolen motorcycle in Western Australia's Goldfields region has been acquitted of manslaughter, but convicted of the lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was chasing Elijah Doughty with his high-powered ute on an uneven and boggy track at Gribble Creek in Boulder, near Kalgoorlie, on August 29 last year.
The 56-year-old dump truck driver and father, who had reported the motorcycle missing the prior evening, admitted dangerous driving occasioning death but pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, arguing the boy suddenly swerved in front of his car.
There was a violent protest outside the Kalgoorlie courthouse when the man first appeared last August, with police injured and nearby shops forced to close.
The Supreme Court of WA heard during his trial, which began on Monday, that the small, 70cc motorcycle didn't have sentimental value to him but another one that was stolen from his property did.
He claimed he thought the boy might veer off into bushland and fall off, so he could ask him where it was.
But he also testified he wouldn't continue the chase if the boy had ridden on.
Instead, the teenager, who wasn't wearing a helmet, tumbled under the car after the impact and died instantly from severe injuries to his neck, chest, pelvis and right leg, a fractured skull and bruised lungs.
Footage of the crash scene played during the trial showed the small motorcycle smashed into pieces, the boy's shoes had flung off his feet in the impact, a tyre mark on the bumper of the ute, damage to the undercarriage of the vehicle and a long trail of oil leading to where it stopped.
The vision caused family members to leave the court weeping.
The man conceded he had been driving too close and didn't have time to stop, admitting that was unsafe.
WA Police crash reconstruction expert Peter Price examined the site several hours after the crash and said he did not see signs of swerving or heavy braking, but the man may have braked moderately using ABS technology and that would not be visible.
The man elected not to testify but in his police interview, which was played in court, he claimed an officer told him to look around Gribble Creek as it was a "dumping ground", asking detectives "do you think it's good telling me to do that?".
The jury retired to deliberate just before 1pm on Thursday and returned its majority verdict just after 11.30am on Friday.
Family members angrily shouted abuse at the man as he was led out of the dock, to await sentencing later in the day.