Freeman James Henderson Jailed for Causing Grievous Bodily Harm in Bicycle Collision

Former Queensland Reds Academy player Freeman James Henderson has been sentenced to prison time for a bicycle collision on William Street that left a pedestrian with lifelong brain injuries.

Freeman James Henderson collides with the victim

On April 7, 2022, 30-year-old Henderson, was cycling in William St near the intersection with the Victoria Bridge when he struck 42-year-old Hayley Small as she was crossing the road. CCTV footage showed that Henderson was travelling 11km/h over the speed limit and went through a red light, hitting Small as she crossed with a walk signal.

Small, a mother of three from Townsville, was in Brisbane with her children for a football trip. She was thrown 3.8 metres by the impact, knocking her unconscious. Paramedics arrived to find Small with life-threatening head injuries. She was hospitalised for over two months and continues to suffer effects from the traumatic brain injury.

Legal consequences

In the Brisbane District Court on Wednesday, Henderson pleaded guilty to dangerously operating his bicycle causing grievous bodily harm. The prosecution asserted that Henderson’s actions were not a lapse in judgement, evidenced by his driving history of traffic violations.

Judge Vicki Loury sentenced Henderson to two years in jail, suspended after three months. She called Henderson’s cycling reckless and said he failed to keep proper lookout for Small’s safety.

Impact on the victim

In her victim impact statement, Small said the collision changed her life and her family’s. She has permanent medical issues requiring medication and struggles with speech and memory.

Unable to work while hospitalised, she lost her home. Separation from her children during recovery caused distress.

Freeman James Henderson apologised to Small in a letter to the court. He has agreed to pay her $20,000 in compensation.

Published 01-March-2024