'Basikal lajak' case: Court of Appeal frees clerk for reckless driving
PUTRAJAYA - The Court of Appeal here today acquitted and discharged clerk Sam Ke Ting for reckless driving that caused the death of eight teenagers who were riding modified bicycles commonly known as basikal lajak in 2017.
A three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, Datuk Hashim Hamzah and Datuk Azman Abdulah, in a unanimous decision, allowed Sam's appeal to set aside a High Court's decision in convicting and sentencing her to six years’ jail term for the offence.
Justice Hadhariah said Sam's conviction for reckless driving cannot stand because the charge preferred on Sam was defective.
She said there was a duplicity of the offence in the charge where Sam was accused of committing reckless driving and dangerous driving.
She said Section 163 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that a charge must have one offence.
"So, you are now a free person,” Justice Hadhariah told Sam who was standing in the accused dock.
Justice Hadhariah said the court sympathised with the families of the eight teenagers who were killed in the accident, but the decision must be made based on the law and evidence produced in court.
Meanwhile, outside the court, Sam apologised to the parents of the eight teenagers, saying that she did not intend to cause the mishap.
She said she knew that her apology would neither bring the teenagers back nor help the bereaved parents find healing and peace.
"I will carry this feeling (of guilt) to the grave,” she said.
On Nov 18, 2019, the Johor Bahru Magistrate's Court freed Sam without ordering her to enter her defence over the charge of driving recklessly and causing the death of the teenagers at Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, Johor Bahru, Johor at 3.20 am on Feb 18, 2017.
On Feb 18, 2021, High Court judge Shahnaz Sulaiman allowed the prosecution's appeal and remitted the case back to the Magistrate's Court for Sam to enter her defence on the reckless driving charge.
On Oct 10, 2021, the Magistrate's Court discharged and acquitted Sam at the end of the defence case, which prompted the prosecution to appeal to the High Court.
On April 13, last year, High Court judge Abu Bakar allowed the prosecution's appeal and convicted Sam of driving recklessly and sentenced her to six years in jail and RM6,000 fine. She then filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
The eight teenagers killed in the incident were Mohamad Azrie Danish Zulkefli, 14; Muhamad Shahrul Izzwan Azzuraimie, 14; Muhammad Firdauz Danish Mohd Azhar, 16; Fauzan Halmijan, 13; Mohamad Azhar Amir, 16; Muhammad Harith Iskandar Abdullah, 14; Muhammad Shahrul Nizam Marudin, 14 and Haizad Kasrin, 16. - BERNAMA