PETALING JAYA: The High Court convicted Sam Ke Ting for reckless driving that resulted in the deaths of eight teenagers on modified bicycles, or “basikal lajak”, because she failed to put up her defence at the prosecution stage of her trial.
Judge Abu Bakar Katar said the 27-year-old clerk’s unsworn statement from the dock after the court told her to enter her defence was a bare denial and an afterthought.
“The respondent (Sam) stated that she did not see a group of cyclists and there was another vehicle that hit the victim,” he said in his broad judgment.
“This version was not raised at the prosecution stage.”
Abu Bakar said the magistrate was in error for considering that Sam’s defence had created a doubt in the prosecution’s case.
He said it was the prosecution that had proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
He said Sam drove her vehicle in a reckless manner, bearing in mind that the road was winding and slightly steep.
“The magistrate was wrong to accept her defence that she did not know that there were cyclists at the place during the wee hours and it gave her the latitude to drive recklessly,” he said.
He said Sam should have been aware that the accident scene was not brightly lit and one’s vision was also limited.
“She should be aware of the risk of driving beyond the 50km per hour speed limit,” he added.
On Wednesday, Abu Bakar sentenced Sam to six years’ jail and fined her RM6,000 after allowing the prosecution’s appeal against a magistrate’s ruling to acquit her.
The offence under Section 41 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333) carries a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of RM20,000 upon conviction.
The eight victims were Azrie Danish Zulkefli, 14 (at the time of the incident); Shahrul Izzwan Azzuraimie, 14; Firdauz Danish Mohd Azhar, 16; Fauzan Halmijan, 13; Azhar Amir, 16; Harith Iskandar Abdullah, 14; Shahrul Nizam Marudin, 14; and Haizad Kasrin, 16.
The incident took place along Jalan Lingkaran Dalam in Johor Bahru at 3.20am on Feb 18, 2017.
The judge refused Sam’s application for a stay of execution pending appeal in the Court of Appeal and ordered her to serve the jail term immediately.
Lawyer Faizal Mokhtar said a notice on the motion for leave to appeal and to stay the execution of the sentence was filed yesterday.
Sam’s appeal against the conviction and sentence can only be heard if there are prima facie questions of law or prima facie errors of laws.