A mechanic who killed a north-east biker in a horror smash on the day the father-of-two celebrated his birthday was today spared a jail term.
Douglas Lawie was out riding with a pal in rural Angus when Alexander Stirling’s BMW collided with Mr Lawie’s Honda CB 1000 bike.
Mr Lawie – who had turned 47 on the day of the crash on August 20 last year – was sent careering down the road and suffered fatal injuries.
Stirling had been told he could face a prison sentence after he admitted a charge of causing death by careless driving – but was instead placed on an electronic tag and banned from driving.
Dundee Sheriff Court heard that Mr Lawie – a businessman who ran an industrial supply company in Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire – had gone out on his bike with a friend to travel to Alloa to meet another pal to celebrate his 47th birthday.
They were on the return leg of the journey when they stopped in Arbroath for fuel before setting off for home in Inverurie.
The pair then set off again – but tragedy struck near Inverkeilor, Angus, when the crash occurred.
Fiscal depute John Adams told the court Stirling was driving his 1 Series behind a Dacia Duster car which was leading a line of cars on the single carriageway road at less than 50mph.
He said: “The accused edged out into the opposite carriageway.
“The deceased had no time to react to the vehicle being in his side of the carriageway.
“The deceased and the motorcycle slid along the carriageway and came to a rest further on.
“The deceased was found breathing and conscious but moaning, obviously in pain and with a broken leg.
“Mr Lawie’s friend had ridden ahead and returned down the road when he didn’t catch up.
“He saw his friend on the carriageway, conscious and breathing.
“Mr Lawie said ‘Kettle, help’ – ‘Kettle’ being the nickname of his friend.
“An ambulance and helimed team attended and he was transported to Ninewells Hospital.
“During the journey his breathing deteriorated and he was met with a trauma team en-route.
“Upon arrival he went into cardiac arrest and despite numerous attempts to rescuscitate him he passed away.
“An expert report found no defects with either vehicle.
“The collision occurred approximately one metre into the deceased’s side of the road.
“There could be no blame at all attached to the deceased.”
Stirling, 23, of Montrose, Angus, pled guilty to a charge of causing death by careless driving on the A92 near Inverkeilor, Angus, on August 20 last year.
Defence counsel Ian Duguid QC said Stirling was “remorseful for his actions and the consequences”.
He added: “The combination of the motorcyclist being towards the centre and the camber of the road pulling him to the centre, and the accused doing an investigation of a potential overtake by a metre over the centre line was a lethal combination.
“But 99 times out of 100 it can be effected without serious injury, damage or collision.
“He is a young man who is never going to forget this.
“Perhaps the public demands that in cases like this persons have to be sentenced to jail.
“But the guidelines and legislation give the opportunity for these cases to be dealt with in a different fashion and in my submission this is one of those cases.”
Sheriff Alastair Brown imposed a restriction of liberty order confining Stirling to his home address from 7pm til 7am every day for eight months on an electronic tag.
He also banned him from driving for 32 months.
The sheriff said: “This was a bad judgement made in circumstances where the consequences were catastrophic.
“A prison sentence would be justified but you have not been in trouble before and at the guidance and accepted practices of sentencing I must consider if an alternative sentence is available.
“With a little hesitation I’ve decided that it does.”