SALES promoter Sam Ke Ting, 27, has a short-lived freedom when the Johor Bahru High Court today overturned the judgment of the Magistrate’s Court, which had on Oct 10 last year acquitted and discharged her for reckless driving in a road accident where eight teenage cyclists aged between 13 and 16 were killed at 3:20am on Feb 18, 2017.
High Court Judge Abu Bakar Katar sentenced Sam to six years of imprisonment starting from the date of conviction and also fined her RM6,000 in default six month’s imprisonment.
This comes after the prosecution was successful in their second appeal against the Magistrate’s Court decision to acquit and discharge Sam with Abu Bakar’s ruling that the Magistrate’s Court has erred by failing to decide on the respondent’s defence without being under the oath.
“The respondent, in her defence, stated that she did not see the group of cyclists at the scene of incident and there was another vehicle that hit the deceased’s bicycles and drove off. This version has never been raised by the respondent during the prosecution case,” the judge was cited by The Star as saying.
“The Magistrate’s Court made a mistake when it accepted the respondent’s defence for not knowing there would be basikal lajak (modified bicycles) activity during the time of the incident as an excuse to drive dangerously, which resulted in the victims’ death.”
Abu Bakar added: “The respondent should have driven her car vigilantly instead of driving fast and causing the incident and should have realised that the area’s lighting was not bright at around 3:20am.”
He further justified that with limited visibility, Sam who was then 22 years old, should have been aware of road safety if she drove her car beyond the speed limit (50km per hour), before arriving at the scene of incident.
Back in October last year, Magistrate Siti Hajar Ali made the decision to set Sam free after ruling that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against her beyond reasonable doubt. She was charged under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 which carries a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of RM20,000 if convicted.
“After examining all the evidence presented and considering the submissions of the deputy public prosecutor and the accused’s counsel at the end of the defence case, reasonable doubt arose,” said Siti Hajar.
“Hence, it has been decided that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, the accused is acquitted and discharged at the end of the defence case.”
Moreover, the magistrate found that Sam’s statement that she was in the extreme left lane of the incident’s location in Jalan Lingkaran Dalam also concurred with the results of a study conducted by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety (MIROS), which found that her vehicle was either driven at 44.5 or 75.8 km/hour.
The court also ordered the accused’s suspended driving licence to be returned to her immediately.
Given the circumstances leading to the accident, one wonders if parents of the eight victims should also be hauled to court for failure to fulfil their parental duty, especially by letting their children to loiter and partake dangerous ‘stunts’ past midnight when they should be sleeping.
Recall that following this fatal accident, the police has warned parents who allow their children to participate in such act that they could face fines up to RM20,000 and/or jail term of up to five years.
Source : Focus