Murder charges for driving offences rare but not impossible, says senior criminal lawyer [NSTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: Driving offences rarely resulted in a murder charge, but premeditated intent to cause death could, said a senior criminal lawyer.

Salim Bashir said that accidents and reckless driving typically fall under Section 41 Road Transport Act (causing death by reckless driving).

To build a case under Section 302 of the Penal Code (for murder), he said, the prosecution must face the challenging task of establishing a clear link between the perpetrator's intent and the resulting fatal act.

"The prosecution's burden of proof in road traffic cases is notably lesser.

"However, the court would usually face the critical task of objectively assessing each incident to determine the alignment for a successful murder conviction," Salim explained during an interview on NST's Beyond the Headlines to secure a Section 302 conviction.

Failure to prove a convergence of intentions and deeds, he added, might result in consequences that do not qualify for murder.

"Motive alone is irrelevant as far as a murder charge is concerned," said Salim.

"But if the motive carries weight that would cause grievous injuries resulting in death — that is sufficient."

This follows the decision made by the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) to charge the senior police officer with murder.

The officer with the rank of deputy superintendent was linked to the fatal hit-and-run case of 17-year-old student Muhammad Zaharif Affendi.

While the discussion did not dissect the case in particular, Salim highlighted the importance of the public being informed of the legal framework, considering the public's attention and how motorists behave on the road.

He said prosecution would have meticulously exercised all the needed criteria, which included witness testimonies and corroboration of evidence before pursuing a murder conviction.

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