updated 1/15/2008 12:05:05 PM ET 2008-01-15T17:05:05

An American tourist who was riding a motorcycle on the wrong side of the road when he killed another motorcyclist in New Zealand pleaded guilty from his hospital bed Tuesday to a charge of careless driving causing death.

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Alexander Spear McBrien, 22, a postgraduate student from Amesbury, Massachusetts, was convicted and ordered to pay 10,000 New Zealand dollars to his victim's family for emotional harm he caused.

Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish was told McBrien was riding a hired motorcycle on the wrong side of the road last December 23 when he crested a hill on a highway on South Island.

He collided head-on with Shane Lawrence Gordon, 22, a father of two, who was killed instantly.

Defense lawyer Rob Harrison entered the guilty plea on McBrien's behalf, adding that his client had no recollection of the crash but accepted he was in the wrong. In New Zealand they drive on the left side of the road, and in America on the right side.

He said McBrien was seriously injured in the accident and would require a special medical flight home.

McBrien may not recover the use of one arm or recover from head injuries enough to resume his studies or to work, Harrison said.

"A moment's inattention has blighted two families, and killed one man," Farish said.

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