Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Crash lawyer Andrew Houston cleared of causing deaths

Andrew Houston Image copyright PETER JOLLY NORTHPIX

An Edinburgh lawyer has been cleared of causing the deaths of three people by careless driving.

Andrew Houston, 48, had denied driving carelessly on the A9 between Newtonmore and Kingussie on 9 July 2013.

His wife, Abigail, and seven year-old daughter, Mia, died along with German tourist Dr Mohammad Hayajneh.

Houston was convicted of a reduced charge of careless driving. He was fined £1,000 and disqualified from driving for a year.

The trial at Inverness Sheriff Court began on Monday.

'Proper closure'

Outside the court the family of Dr Hayajneh said they had not wanted Houston jailed but did not feel justice had been served.

Mr Hayajneh's son Jonas said: "We are sad at this verdict and believe that justice has not been done for our father and husband.

"We don't feel hatred towards Mr Houston and at no point we wanted him to go to prison, but we wanted him to be found guilty since all the evidence suggested he was and we are convinced that this tragedy could have been avoided.

"We now face the prospect of not gaining proper closure."

Dr Hayajneh's wife, Ursula, praised the actions of the police and medical staff in the aftermath of the accident.

She said: "After the accident I learned that Scottish people are very helpful, they have a great heart and so friendly and at this horrible time I would say 'thank you' to the police and to everybody who were so helpful to me."

Houston is a senior partner at McSporrans defence Solicitors in Edinburgh.

Now the family will pursue a civil action against Houston.

He made no comment as he left the court with the mother of his late wife and her sister.

However, his defence counsel, Frances McMenamin said: "His mother and sister in law have been fully supportive of my client since the tragedy and it hardly needs saying that Mr Houston will always carry the burden of the loss of all those lives and knows the grief and loss to others.

"It has taken its toll on him both emotionally and physically and he has found it psychologically difficult to cope with.

"He expresses his inevitable sadness for what this loss has meant to others."

It was five months before the solicitor advocate was fit enough to be interviewed by police about the tragedy.

But he could not remember how it happened, only a loud bang "and the horrid aftermath" he told officers.

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