26-year-old Sam Ke Ting has been ordered back to court to defend the case where she was previously charged for reckless driving and causing the death of eight teen cyclists in a 2017 accident in Johor
According to New Straits Times, Johor Bahru High Court has overturned Sam's acquittal made by the city's Magistrate Court in 2019.
In a ruling yesterday, 18 February, Judicial Commissioner Dr Shahnaz Sulaiman said the prosecution successfully established a prima facie case against Sam.
The accused — who works as a sales promoter — has been ordered to enter defence and the court has fixed 9 to 11 May for the trial.
The High Court's decision yesterday came exactly four years after the accident, during which Sam, driving in the wee hours of the morning, had rammed into some 30 teen cyclists
The then 22-year-old accused was driving on Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, Johor Bahru at 3.30am on 18 February 2017, reported The Star.
The court heard that the road condition was dark, hilly, and winding at the time of the incident.
Magistrate Siti Hajar Ali, in her judgement in October 2019, said the condition made it impossible for the accused 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."
The teens were said to be riding modified bicycles — or 'basikal lajak' — on the night of the incident. Investigations found that the victims removed brakes on their bicycles and lowered the seats to the same level as the handlebars.
The lower court also learned that Sam was not driving under the influence of alcohol or texting during the accident.
After taking many factors into consideration, the Johor Bahru Magistrate Court acquitted Sam of the charge in 2019
Less than two weeks after the acquittal, the prosecution filed a notice of appeal against the magistrate's decision on 10 November 2019.
In yesterday's proceedings, deputy public prosecutor Tengku Amir Zaki Tengku Abdul Rahman and Muhammad Syafiq made up the prosecutor team.
Sam was represented by her lawyer Muhammad Faizal Mokhtar.
The accused was ordered to surrender her driving licence and passport to the court. The bail was set at RM10,000 with one surety.
Speaking to reporters outside the court yesterday, Bernama reported one of the victims' family members as saying that she is ready to accept whatever the court decides.
While another person said he hopes the victims would finally receive their due justice.
In the 2019 verdict, Magistrate Siti Hajar Ali said the teen cyclists created an unsafe condition for road users: