'I'm haunted by the incident every second of my life' - Sam
PUTRAJAYA - "My thoughts are and will be haunted by the incident every second of my life. I will have to take this to my grave," Sam Ke Ting said after she was acquitted for reckless driving that killed eight teenagers in 2017.
The 28-year-old clerk said the incident was constantly on her mind, and she often wondered about the lives of the families who lost their child in the accident.
Throughout the four years of court proceedings, Sam said any form of consolation will not bring closure for the victims' families.
She understands that their families' must be experiencing feelings and emotions that can't be imagined.
"Anything I say will not bring back those kids, but I want to let the family know that I'm also suffering the pain of the tragedy.
"I sincerely apologise to the families, despite knowing that forgiveness is not possible after what has happened," she said at a press conference in the Palace of Justice lobby, here.
However, she said the incident was not on purpose.
Sam also thanked the court and judges for hearing her plea fairly.
The Court of Appeal here on Tuesday acquitted Sam of the offence.
The three-judge panel led by Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, sitting together with Datuk Hashim Hamzah and Datuk Azman Abdullah, made a unanimous decision, thus setting aside the six-year prison sentence and RM6,000 fine imposed by the High Court against Sam as the appellant.
While reading the verdict, Hadhariah said the High Court judge focused on the driver but not the cyclists.
Lawyer Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik appeared in the proceeding to represent Sam, while the prosecution was represented by Deputy Public Prosecutor Tengku Amir Zaki Tengku Abdul Rahman.
On Feb 18, 2017, eight young boys between the ages of 13 and 17 riding lajak bicycles were killed by a car on Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, next to Mahmoodiah Cemetery, in Johor Bahru.
On March 28, the same year, the female driver pleaded not guilty in the same magistrate's court to the charge of reckless driving causing the deaths of eight teenage cyclists.
Sam, who was 22-years-old at the time she allegedly committed the offence.
The eight teenagers who died 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.
On Oct 28, 2019, she was acquitted by the court, but the Johor Bahru High Court on Feb 18, 2021, ordered the driver to defend herself after finding the prosecution had succeeded in proving a prima facie case against the accused.
On Oct 10 of the same year, the magistrate's court maintained the decision.
A day later, the prosecution filed an appeal notice against the acquittal.
However, on April 13, 2022, the High Court set aside the magistrate's court decision and ordered Sam to be imprisoned for six years and fined RM6,000.
The following day, the lawyer representing Sam, Muhammad Faizal Mokhtar filed a motion notice for leave to appeal and a stay of execution of the prison sentence and fine.