Scottish Borders death crash driver avoids jail term
A French school teacher who caused the death of a Scots food delivery worker by driving on the wrong side of a Borders road has avoided a jail term.
Selkirk Sheriff Court heard Jean-Baptiste Brossett, 23, was driving in the UK for the first time when the accident happened last September.
Andrew McLean, 22, of Carnwath, South Lanarkshire, died in the A72 crash.
Brossett, who teaches at a school in Ireland, was given 200 hours community service and an 18-month driving ban.
The court heard how the Frenchman's left-hand-drive Peugeot 307 drifted onto the opposite carriageway of the road resulting in a head-on collision with a Vauxhall Nova being driven by Mr McLean.
He died instantly in the accident which was caused "by a moment's inattention resulting from the accused's inexperience of driving in the UK".
Brossett, of Wexford in Ireland, managed to pull himself from the wreckage and then pull his girlfriend from the car.
Depute fiscal Tessa Bradley described how witnesses said that Brossett was "hysterical" at the accident scene and was heard to say: "I have killed a man. I am sorry, I am sorry."
End Quote Peter Gray QC
It is a tragic moment of confusion by a young man driving in the UK and who was unaccustomed to driving on the left hand side of the road”
She explained that Brossett had arrived in the UK for the first time the previous day and was heading to Edinburgh via the Borders.
Mr McLean was heading home from Peebles Farmers Market when he was faced by Brossett's car coming straight towards him on a sweeping bend.
The court heard that both men had then swerved, resulting in a head-on crash.
Peter Gray QC, defending, said there were no aggravating factors in the build-up to the accident such as speeding or lack of rest.
He said: "It is a tragic moment of confusion by a young man driving in the UK and who was unaccustomed to driving on the left hand side of the road.
"He momentarily suffered a lapse of concentration and responded by acting instinctively moving to the right hand side of the road which for him is the right side of the road but tragically the wrong side of the road in Scotland."
He argued that for the offence of causing death by careless driving the circumstances leading to the accident meant it was a "case that falls at the bottom of the scale" when it came to sentencing.'Tragic consequences'
Brossett, who was accompanied to court by his parents from France, pled guilty to a charge of causing death by careless driving.
Sheriff Kevin Drummond described Mr McLean as a "happy, hard working young man devoted to his family and fiancée" and passed on the sincere sympathies of the court.
He added: "The court is also conscious that nothing can be said or done here today which can reverse those tragic consequences.
"There seems to be common ground here that it was caused by a moment's inattention resulting from the accused's inexperience of driving in the UK."