TRUCK driver Geoffrey Joseph Sleba was drifting in the borderlands between wakefulness and sleep.

Sharing the road ahead of him at 3.14pm on Anzac Day 2014 was Dr Martin Pearson, a passionate cyclist.

Veterinary anaesthetist Dr Pearson was the beloved husband of Sandy Vigar, and father to two children, Brisbane District Court heard on Monday.

But the respected 61-year-old's life ended violently when Sleba hit him with a Freightliner truck on Inglewood-Millmerran Rd in the Darling Downs.

The court heard Sleba had no memory of the tragedy, had sleep apnoea, and previously developed psychosis after accidentally fatally shooting his wife a few years earlier.


Geoff Sleba:
Geoffrey Joseph Sleba has been jailed, after cyclist Dr Martin Pearson was killed. Bruce Honeywill

At Sleba's sentencing on Monday, the court heard one of Dr Pearson's relatives call the UQ Gatton lecturer a man with a "quirky sense of humour and penetrating wisdom".

Dr Pearson's death caused "devastation" to family members, prosecutor Sam Bain said.

Mr Bain said Dr Pearson's son now felt any goals he achieved in his own life were "hollow and worthless" without his father's presence.

Sleba, 47, was a professional driver, with a special "duty of care" when driving, the prosecutor said.

Based on expert evidence presented to jurors, Sleba had Dr Pearson in his line of sight for about 13 seconds, Mr Bain said.

But a sleepy Sleba must have had "a long period of dangerous driving" before striking Dr Pearson.

Defence counsel Jeffrey Hunter said Sleba felt terrible about the Anzac Day crash.

"His ability to make that assessment was impaired because he had such longstanding sleep apnoea," the barrister added.

The court heard Sleba accidentally shot his wife during an attempt to find a snake on family property in 2008.

Sleba was not charged for that, and had a good relationship with his late wife's family, Mr Hunter said.

"He was deeply affected by it -  and it in fact triggered an episode of psychosis, from which he has recovered."
Sleba's family were in court to support him.

Mr Hunter said people from a church, local government, the transport industry and medical profession also provided positive references for Sleba.

Sleba worked in a family business employing 14 people and had a management role, Mr Hunter said.
Sleba had no criminal history.

Judge Leanne Clare told Sleba he drove "a potentially lethal weapon with the capacity for catastrophic destruction".

She told him: "You had two loaded trailers with a mass of 60 tonnes…Your duty to exercise care was an especially heavy one." 

"He was just a quiet person that you wouldn't notice - but everybody noticed when he wasn't around." Cyclist Dr Martin Pearson from Lowood was killed near Inglewood. Contributed

Judge Clare said an "alert" driver would have noticed Dr Pearson, who wore a high-vis vest and was thrown some 30m by the impact.

"Neither alcohol nor speed were factors. You have sworn that you did not see the bike and were unaware of [the] impact."

"We know that Dr Pearson was a good and decent man…He made the world a better place."

She said the vet's relatives were "all tormented by the violence of Dr Pearson's death".

Judge Clare said Sleba had moderate to severe sleep apnoea.

"You did not know that at the time of the incident."

The truckie had been in custody about three-and-a-half months.

Judge Clare said Sleba hadn't shown " visible signs of distress or remorse" but she accepted he'd have to forever live with the knowledge he killed someone.

For dangerous driving causing death, Sleba was sentenced to three years jail, to be suspended after 13 months.

Three months and 18 days spent in custody counted as time served.

He was disqualified from driving for two years.

Warwick District Court jurors in February found Sleba not guilty of dangerous driving causing death before leaving the scene, but guilty of the alternate charge.

Speaking outside court, Ms Vigar said the tragedy her family experienced should remind all drivers of their duty to be safe on the roads.

"If this has done anything, it brings home the responsibility we all have as drivers," she said.

"And it's an activity that we all do every day, but the consequences of getting it wrong can be catastrophic."

She added: "Regardless of this, we've still lost Martin, and we miss him every day.

"Martin was a quiet, gentle academic in a lot of ways. And he had a very quirky sense of humour. He was just a quiet person that you wouldn't notice - but everybody noticed when he wasn't around."

Ms Vigar said her family were grateful to police and other members of the emergency services.

"Their caring and respect and professionalism just made it a little bit easier for us on that day."