It has been five years since the ‘basikal lanjak’ case which took 8 lives and left 8 others injured. At that time, 16 teens were riding along Jalan Lingkaran Dalam in Johor Bahru on modified bicycles. Unfortunately, a car, driven by then-22-year-old, Sam Ke Ting, crashed into the group.
Sam has been acquitted twice since then. However, another appeal saw her defend her case in the Johor Bahru High Court. This time, her acquisition was overturned and she has been sentenced to six years in jail and a fine of RM6,000.
In October last year, Sam was ordered back to court after the prosecution proved a prima facie case against her. However, the Magistrate Court acquitted and discharged her when her case could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution then appealed to the High Court, who ordered Sam to enter her defence.
Sam returned to the court and was sentenced today (13th April). The court ordered that she would be given 6 more months in jail if she failed to pay the fine. Additionally, her driving licence will be ineligible for 3 years after completing her jail sentence.
According to Judge Abu Bakar Katar, the trial court had erred in reconsidering several issues raised at the end of the prosecution case. The issues mentioned were, the identity of the driver, admissibility of exhibits and non-identification of the victims. Additionally, he pointed out that Sam mentioned during her defence that she hadn’t seen the group and that there had been other vehicles which had collided with the bikes. However, previously, Sam had not brought up such information.
The judge held that Sam should have been driving more carefully. He pointed out that Sam should not have been driving fast as it was about 3:20am in the morning and that the area was poorly lit. “In addition to the limited visibility, the defendant should have been aware of the possibility of danger ahead of her before arriving at the scene of the incident over 50km/hr,” he aid.
“The defendant’s act of reckless or dangerous driving led to the loss of eight lives,” Judge Abu Bakar stated. “The offence committed by the defendant is a heavy one.” He observed that the parliament had amended the punishment based on the Road Transport (Amendment) Act 2020. “It’s lucky for her,” he said. “Because the offence was convicted in 2017 before the amendment was made.”
The prosecution had previously requested the court impose a fitting sentence in light of the public’s interest in the case and the increasing fatal accident cases per year. However, the defence had appealed for a more lenient sentence as it was Sam’s first offence and she was caring for both her parents.
Sam was arrested immediately following the sentencing and will be beginning said sentence today. Sam’s lawyer is hoping to appeal the court’s decision. Her lawyer added that Sam had been calm and composed after hearing the court’s decision.
The 27-year-old had been charged under Section 41 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333) for reckless driving. She had been accused of causing the death of eight teenage cyclists at 3.20am on 18th February 2017.