The Court of Appeal today acquitted clerk, Sam Ke Ting, for reckless driving, which caused the death of eight teenagers riding their ‘basikal lajak’ in 2017.
A three-judge panel led by Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, sitting alongside Datuk Hashim Hamzah and Datuk Azman Abdullah, made a unanimous decision, thus setting aside the six-year prison sentence and RM6,000 fine by the High Court against Ke Ting.
Picture credit: The Star
“In this case, the charge was incorrect, it was defective. The conviction was also incorrect. On this grounds alone, the appeal is allowed,” said Justice Hadhariah, according to The Star.
On April 13 last year, the Johor Bahru High Court ordered the clerk to be punished for the offence she committed in 2017 after being acquitted of her charge by the same Magistrate’s Court in Johor Baru.
A second appeal by the prosecution took her to the High Court, where they allowed the prosecution’s appeal and convicted Sam of driving recklessly and sentenced her to six years in jail and an RM6,000 fine.
Judge Datuk Abu Bakar Katar also ordered the respondent, Ke Ting, 27, to serve another six months in prison if she fails to pay the fine, in addition to losing her driving license for three years effective after completing the prison sentence.
According to The Star, in today’s decision, Justice Hadhariah said a guilty verdict could only follow the finding of fault of the driver.
“That is how the law stands. You cannot simply say that because it is a fatal accident, the driver must have been liable. That is not what the law says,” she said.
In her appeal, Sam’s lead counsel Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik had argued that there was duplicity in Sam’s charge.
The defence submitted that the conviction by the High Court was “unsustainable” as the charge was defective, duplicated and without a prima facie case.
Justice Hadhariah ended the case by saying to Sam that” You are now a free person”. The court also ordered for Sam’s RM10,000 bail money to be returned to her.