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NC500 campervan driver fined £1k and given nine penalty points after unsafe overtake

By Court Reporter

A NC500 campervan driver overtook on a sharp bend near Bettyhill, forcing the driver of an oncoming vehicle to take evasive action, a court heard.

Dentist Ammar Zaki (30), St Andrew’s Street, Liverpool, waved as he passed Jessica Uprichard, who had driven her car onto the verge next to a rock face to avoid a collision.

The case against Zaki was heard at Tain Sheriff Court.
The case against Zaki was heard at Tain Sheriff Court.

Dashcam footage of the event was later posted on social media and went “viral”, exacerbating concerns about the increasing number of motorists and standard of driving on the popular tourism route.

At Tain Sheriff Court on Monday, Zaki, who was not present, was fined £1000 and had his licence endorsed by nine penalty points after he admitted careless driving and failing to report an accident.

The incident happened around 3.30pm on August 29 just west of Bettyhill on the A836 Tarlogie to John O’Groats road.

Zaki and his wife had hired a camper van to tour the route and were travelling eastwards on a two-way stretch of road when he overtook a slow moving vehicle on the bend, only to meet Ms Pritchard coming in the opposite direction.

Procurator fiscal Niall Macdonald told the court: “The female driver was confronted by the campervan in her carriageway. She quickly took evasive action, braking and pulling in sharply to the left.

“She felt an impact underneath her car as she drove onto the verge and came to a stop close to a rockface at the side of the road.

“The accused drove on thereafter but the complainer had dashcam fotage and was able to identify the registration number which was reported to police who got in touch with the company that had hired out the van and subsequently Mr Zaki.”

Defence agent David Paterson said the vehicle in front of Zaki had been slow moving and he thought it was coming to a stop. Police had calculated that the overtaking maoeuvre had been carried out at just 6mph.

“My client’s position is that he waved to her (Jessica Uprichard) to say he was sorry.

His perception of the accident was perhaps a bit skewed at the time and he understands in hindsight he should have appreciated the possible damage to the other vehicle.

“This incident is a lesson learned to him.”

The court was told Zaki had a clean driving licence and no previous convictions.

Mr Paterson pleaded with Sheriff Gary Aitken not to give his client a driving ban.

The lawyer said his licence was vital to Zaki who had to make a 100-mile round trip to his work at a hospital in Wales.

n More court news on page 4.

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