A Brazilian lawyer who caused a head-on crash on a Highland road which left an 88-year-old woman seriously injured was fined £6,000 yesterday.
Flavio da Silva, a 40-year-old father-of-three from Salvador, had been on the third day of his UK holiday with his wife when he drove on the wrong side of the A86, half-a-mile east of Spean Bridge on January 19 this year.
Coming in the opposite direction was James Mackenzie, 67, in his Toyota Hi-lux, carrying his elderly mother-in-law Annie Henderson and two back seat passengers.
As he swerved towards the verge to avoid the impact, da Silva did the same in his hired BMW and ploughed into the near-side of the 4×4.
Mr Mackenzie was uninjured but his mother-in-law suffered nine rib fractures, a broken sternum and a punctured lung.
The other passengers and the da Silvas suffered minor injuries, including whiplash.
Da Silva travelled to Scotland to admit driving dangerously.
His lawyer, Steve Kennedy told the court that his client had immediately apologised after the incident, and inquired about the welfare of Mrs Henderson as soon as he arrived.
Mr Kennedy added: “He tells me he moved to the other lane to avoid an obstacle on the road and went into automatic mode, driving for some distance along the side of the road he is used to in Brazil.”
Fiscal Allison Young said that Mrs Henderson had still not fully recovered from her ordeal, which included 11 days in hospital.
She said: “She still has to have day carers four times a day and aids had to be installed in the house. She has ongoing pain relief.”
Sheriff Margaret Neilson warned da Silva that she would be imposing “a significant fine” and that it was unusual for her to go straight to sentencing for this type of offence without a background report.
“But in the circumstances I have little option,” the Sheriff added.
She gave da Silva 24 hours to pay the fine before returning to South America – for which, Mr Kennedy said, his client was prepared.
Da Silva was also banned from driving in the UK for two years.