Crime & Courts

'Basikal lajak' case: 'I'm with you in bearing the pain of the tragedy,' Sam says to families [NSTTV]

PUTRAJAYA: The accident that had taken the lives of eight "basikal lajak" cyclists in Johor Baru six years ago continues to haunt Sam Ke Ting, who was behind the wheel of the vehicle involved in the crash.

Speaking to reporters after the Court of Appeal discharged and acquitted her today, the 28-year-old clerk again apologised to the families of the eight victims.

She said the crash that happened was never intentional.

"To the parents and families of Azrie Danish Zulkefli, Shahrul Izzwan Azzuraimie, Firdauz Danish Mohd Azhar, Fauzan Halmijan, Azhar Amir, Harith Iskandar Abdullah, Shahrul Nizam Marudin, and Haizad Kasrin… I feel deeply for your suffering over the death of your children.

"Throughout the six years that this case was tried in court, I have always thought and reflected on how the days went by, as well as the future of these deceased, that could have been lived with their families.

"What I have here to say would never be enough to bring peace to your lives, (the) rage and feelings that should not have been felt.

"My words could never bring back those lives into your arms. However, I am here to say that I am with you in bearing the pain of the tragedy," she said, pausing every now and then to hold back her tears.

Sam added that "every corner" of her mind and soul was haunted by the accident that had happened on tate fateful night.

"And I believe these feelings will stay with me to my grave. From the deepest bit of my heart, I apologise even though I know and understand that it will be hard to forgive me."

Sam, who was accompanied by her team of counsels lead by senior lawyer Datuk Hisyam Teh Pok Teik, also thank the Court of Appeal for today's decision.

Hisyam, while thanking his team for their efforts, also mentioned the families of the deceased.

"As we stand to rejoice and appreciate the Court of Appeal judgment, our hearts goes out to the victims of this unfortunate tragedy. No words can describe the suffering underwent by the deceased parents."

Earlier, a three-member bench led by Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail and including Datuk Hashim Hamzah and Datuk Azman Abdullah, discharged and acquitted Sam, after finding that the charge against her was defective and therefore illegal.

She had been accused of crashing into and causing the deaths of the Azrie Danish Zulkefli, 14; 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 on Feb 18, 2017.

Her charges were framed under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 which carries a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of RM20,000 upon conviction.

The 28-year-old clerk had been acquitted and discharged by the magistrate's court on Oct 28, 2019 at the end of the prosecution's case without her defence being called.

The prosecution appealed against the decision to the High Court and on Feb 18, 2021, the Johor Baru High Court sent the case back to the magistrate's court, ordering Sam to enter her defence.

On Oct 10, 2021, the magistrate's court again acquitted and discharged her, which led the prosecution to appeal to the High Court again.

High Court judge Datuk Abu Bakar Katar allowed the prosecution's appeal and convicted and sentenced her to six years' jail and a RM6,000 fine on April 13 last year.

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