Court Rules Woman Involved In JB Accident That Killed 8 Teen Cyclists Not Guilty
The Magistrate's Court in Johor Bahru has ruled that the woman involved in an accident that killed eight teen cyclists in 2017 not guilty of reckless driving
Magistrate Siti Hajar Ali discharged sales promoter Sam Ke Ting, now 24 years old, from any wrongdoing in the accident that happened at the Middle Ring Road at 3.20am on 18 February 2017, reported New Straits Times.
The accident resulted in the deaths of eight teens aged between 13 and 16, and injured eight more others.
Siti Hajar ruled that that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against the accused.
In the judgment, Siti Hajar said the court ruled as such after taking many factors into consideration
Siti Hajar explained that the road was dark, hilly, and winding during the accident - making it impossible for the driver to foresee that there would be a bicycle gang present on the road at 3am.
"Based on evidence by the investigating team, there was a large tree in the path and the lighting was dim, even with the lights on at the road divider," the magistrate said.
"There had been complaints about modified bicycle racing there. It is reasonable to expect motorists (who live in the area) to know about it. (But) it is unfair to expect the same from other motorists who seldom use the road or stay in the area," Siti Hajar added.
It is learned that the teens were using modified bicycles or 'basikal lajak' on the night of the accident. The Star reported that some victims had removed brakes on their bicycles and lowered the seats to the same level as the handlebars.
Siti Hajar said the victims created an unsafe condition for road users.
The court also learned that the accused was not under the influence of alcohol nor using a phone while driving during the accident
Siti Hajar said Sam also had her seatbelt on and was not speeding on the night of the incident.
She asserted that the accused was alert while at the wheel.
46 witnesses were called up to the court and 214 exhibits were tendered during the hearing
The magistrate ordered the return of Sam's driving licence and the paid bail amounting to RM10,000.
Sam was charged under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987. If convicted, she would have faced imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine not exceeding RM20,000.
"The court would also like to take this opportunity to remind parents that they too could be charged under Section 53 of the Child's Act 2001 for neglecting their child," Siti Hajar added.
Previously, the Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar said the incident should serve as a lesson to parents to prevent their children from participating in dangerous activities
Malaysiakini reported that Johor prince Tunku Idris Sultan Ibrahim had also criticised the groups who tried to stir up racial hatred after the incident.
At the peak of the controversy, there was even a protest against the driver, which invited people to "protest against Chinese woman who was not jailed or fined and was let off by police just like that".