The Johor Bahru Magistrate's Court has upheld its decision to acquit a woman who is accused of reckless driving which resulted in the death of eight teenagers four years ago
In a ruling yesterday, 10 October, Magistrate Siti Hajar Ali said that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against 26-year-old Sam Ke Ting beyond reasonable doubt, reported Bernama.
"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," she said.
"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."
In her judgement, Siti Hajar also took into account the reasonable testimony of the accused, who told the court that she had no knowledge of the riding activities on modified bicycles — commonly known as 'basikal lajak' — in the area. She said there was no warning on such activities.
The court also learnt that Sam — who was 22 years old at the year of the incident — was driving on the far left lane at the accident scene on Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, Johor Bahru at 3.30am on 18 February 2017.
The accused's testimony matched with a study conducted by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety (MIROS), which also found that the accused was driving at 44.5km/h or 75.8km/h. Harian Metro reported the judge as saying that it was well within the speed limit.
The court ordered the authorities to reverse Sam's driving licence suspension immediately
Earlier, the judge also mentioned the authorities' failure to find evidence to back their claim that it might not be Sam who was driving at the time of the incident.
According to Harian Metro, there was another man at the scene and there is reasonable doubt that the accused was a passenger while the car was driven by the friend.
"There was the testimony of other witnesses that triggered the question that failed to be explained. Therefore, the accused cannot be punished for the failure of the investigating officers to carry out their responsibilities in investigating the case properly," Siti Hajar said.
Sam was represented by her lawyer Muhammad Faizal Mokhtar, while the prosecution team consisted of deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Syafiq Mohd Ghazali and Johor prosecution director Tengku Amir Zaki Tengku Abd Rahman.
This is the second time Sam has been acquitted and discharged from the case by the same court
On 18 February, the Johor Bahru High Court ordered Sam to enter defence after the prosecution proved a prima facie case against the accused. The higher-tiered court overturned the decision made by the Magistrate's Court in October 2019 to acquit her.
The Magistrate's Court, presided by Siti Hajar, had previously acquitted and discharged Sam from the case on 28 October 2019.
The accused was charged under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333), which carries a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of RM20,000, if convicted, reported Bernama.