A French tourist, who was in this country on his honeymoon, has been sentenced on dangerous driving charges after driving on the wrong side of the road and crashing into an oncoming vehicle, seriously injuring two women.
When Stephane Mazerat, 29, appeared in the Hamilton District Court today, he was disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay reparation of just over $18,728 to the two victims.
Mazerat and his wife were also seriously injured in the crash on State Highway Three near Awakino on 5 January.
The couple were in court in wheelchairs.
Mazerat pulled out of a service station onto the right-hand side of the road and drove about 500 metres before rounding a corner and hitting an oncoming car head-on.
His lawyer Belinda Sellars told the court he did not intentionally drive in a dangerous manner but did so due to lack of attention.
Judge Simon Menzies agreed, saying Mazerat had reverted to instinct as a driver from France used to driving on the right hand side of the road.
Speaking through an interpreter outside the Hamilton District Court, Mazerat was remorseful.
"They are very sorry for the accident and they hope that they get better soon."