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NZ man faces trial for road rage death

AAP logoAAP 20/11/2016

A New Zealander accused of killing a Brisbane man during a road rage scuffle still has a major battle ahead despite the murder charge against him being dropped, his lawyer says.

Tamate Henry Heke was originally charged with the murder of Shane Merrigan, 50, who died after he was allegedly pushed into the path of an oncoming truck on the Gateway Motorway at Eight Mile Plains in December 2015.

Heke appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday where the case against him was downgraded to the lesser charges of manslaughter and unlawful striking causing death.

The father-of-three did not enter a plea but was committed to stand trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court at a later date.

Outside court, defence lawyer Adam Magill said it was great for Heke that the murder charge had been discontinued.

"He's still concerned but we have a major battle ahead of us in respect to the new charge, but it's a step in the right direction," Mr Magill said.

"It's obviously a lot better facing the lesser charge."

Magistrate Anthony Gett renewed Heke's bail but rejected his application seeking permission to drive.

Mr Magill had argued the restriction had "essentially become unworkable" for Heke because it prevented him from getting a job.

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