A Sheriff warned “boy racers” against speeding around the Highlands after acquitting two young men of driving dangerously before a fatal road crash.
On trial were 21-year-old Callum Fraser of Miers Avenue, Inverness, and 24-year-old Colin Maclennan of Park Terrace, Strathpeffer.
They were found not guilty by Sheriff Sara Matheson following two days of evidence led by fiscal depute Iain Gray.
The pair had denied a detailed charge accusing them of racing, jockeying for position, overtaking on blind bends and summits and driving at excessive speed.
But at the close of the prosecution case, defence solicitor Sam Milligan and Willie Young submitted to the sheriff that there was no case to answer.
She then retired to consider to consider her verdict.
On her return, she delivered her decision which brought tears from members of 20-year-old Kyle Robertson’s family sitting in the public benches.
Mr Robertson was killed after being one of up to nine young drivers on February 25, 2018 on the A835 near Garve.
His car was clipped by another being driven by 23-year-old Mikey Durdle from Beauly.
The collision sent his Seat Leon careering off the road, over a railway lane and crashing into trees.
Durdle was jailed for three years earlier this year for causing his pal’s death.
Sheriff Matheson told the lawyers: “On the basis of the evidence I have heard, I am satisfied that the Crown can’t prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
But she added: “Racing around the Highlands will be treated seriously by the courts as it can lead to the loss of young lives.
“Although you have been found not guilty, you were part of this group and I hope you have learned your lesson from this tragedy.”
Neither the two drivers or Mr Robertson’s family made any comment after the decision.
The trial had heard that up to nine drivers of “hot hatch” type cars had met in Dingwall, then drove to Contin where they stopped briefly before continuing towards Garve.
Minutes later there was the fatal collision.
The court heard that on their fateful trip, they drove nose to tail, engaged in dangerous overtaking manoeuvres and witnesses described how they had to take evasive action to avoid colliding with them.
One woman passenger said she thought she “was a goner” when her vehicle was overtaken at speed.
Another described the group as “maniacs” and another “boy racers”.