JOHOR BARU: The Magistrate’s Court here today acquitted and discharged a sales promoter, who was charged with reckless driving which led to a road accident in which eight teenage cyclists were killed, two years ago.

Magistrate Siti Hajar Ali acquitted Sam Ke Ting, 24, without calling for her defence, after finding that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against her.

The magistrate also ordered the immediate return of Sam’s driving licence and the bail of RM10,000 to be returned to her bailor.

In the judgment, Siti Hajar said that the court made the decision based on a number of factors, including the dark and winding road where the accident occurred; the fact that the driver could not have predicted the presence of a group of cyclists at 3am; and the danger posed by the cyclists themselves, who were using modified bicycles or “basikal lajak”.

“Based on evidence by the investigating team, there was a large tree in the path and the lighting was dim, even with the lights on at the road divider.

“There had been complaints about modified bicycle racing there. It is reasonable to expect motorists (who live in the area) to know about it. (But) it is unfair to expect the same from other motorists who seldom use the road or stay in the area,” she said.

Siti Hajar added that an investigation also found that the accused was neither under the influence of alcohol, nor using a cellphone while driving, and that she had her seatbelt on.

This proved that she was alert while at the wheel, she added.

The magistrate also advised parents to monitor their children’s activities, and for the police to take stern action to prevent such incidents.

“Hence, based on the reasons I stated earlier, if I decide for the accused to enter her defence, she (will) choose to remain silent on the charges brought against her.

“The question is, will I convict her based on the evidence presented by the prosecution? My answer is no.

“Therefore, the accused should be acquitted and discharged without being called to enter her defence,” Siti Hajar said.

Sam, who was driving her vehicle with the registration number JQB 9984, was charged with reckless driving, causing the death of eight teenage cyclists at the Middle Ring Road, here, at 3.20am on Feb 18, 2017.

She was charged with causing the deaths of 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.

The charge was framed under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987, which provides for a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine not exceeding RM20,000, upon conviction.

The prosecution was conducted by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Syafiq Mohd Ghazali, while lawyer Muhammad Faizal Mokhtar represented Sam.

A total of 46 witnesses were called to testify and 214 exhibits were tendered during the hearing, which began in Aug 2017. - BERNAMA

According to Bernama, Sam Ke Ting, 24, was freed after the court found the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case. - NSTP/EMAIL