Four years ago, Sam Ke Ting was driving along Jalan Lingkaran Dalam in Johor Bahru when she drove into a group of cyclists. 16 teens, aged 13 to 16 years old, were involved. One half of the group passed away while the other half was badly injured.
At that time, the court ruled that Sam was not guilty of reckless driving. However, the victims families protested the ruling and she was ordered back to court in February this year. Yesterday (10th October), the Johor Bahru Magistrate’s Court decided to uphold its decision to acquit Sam of the charge.
The now 26-year-old Sam was ordered to court this year when the prosecution proved a prima facie case against her. This nullified the ruling made by the court in October 2019 to acquit and discharge her. She was charged under Section 41 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333). If convicted, she would have been jailed for a maximum of 10 years and fined RM20,000.
According to Magistrate Siti Hajar Ali, Sam was acquitted a second time when the prosecution failed to prove the case against her beyond reasonable doubt. Siti went on to say that reasonable doubt arose after all the evidence presented had been examined. They had also considered the submissions made by the deputy public prosecutor and the accused’s counsel.
Sam testified that she had been driving on the far left lane of the accident scene on Jalan Lingkaran Dalam at 3:30 am on 18th February 2017. Additionally, the 26-year-old claimed she had no knowledge of the riding activities on modified bicycles (otherwise known as ‘basikal lajak’) which occurred in the area. The court found her testimony reasonable and true. A study conducted by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety (MIROS) concurred with her testimony and showed she had either been driving at 44.5km/h or 75.8km/h.
“There are also doubts about the true identity of the driver of the vehicle which allegedly had been driven by the accused,” Siti said. According to Utusan Malaysia, there had been a Chinese man at the scene. There is reasonable doubt that the accused had in fact been a passenger in her friend’s car at the time.
The magistrate stated that some witnesses’ testimonies had triggered questions which failed to be answered. “As such, the accused cannot be punished for the investigating officers’ failure to carry out the responsibility of investigating the case properly,” she added.
The court ordered Sam’s suspended driving license be returned to her immediately. She was also acquitted and discharged at the end of the defence case.
Although the accident took place four years ago, it is clear to see that many are still hurting from it. Hopefully, with this second acquisition, the families can find it in them to forgive and Sam can find peace.