Court upholds acquittal of driver in fatal ‘mat lajak’ case


JOHOR BARU: A Magistrate’s Court here has upheld the decision to acquit and discharge a saleswoman of reckless driving that resulted in the death of eight teenagers on modified bicycles, known as “basikal lajak”, four years ago.

The decision on the appeal was made by magistrate Siti Hajar Ali after Sam Ke Ting, 26, was ordered to enter her defence at the High Court in February.

“After examining all the evidence presented and considering the submissions of the deputy public prosecutor and the accused’s counsel at the end of the defence case, reasonable doubt arose.

“Hence, it has been decided that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, the accused is acquitted and discharged at the end of the defence case,” she said.

In her judgment, Siti Hajar said her decision took into account the reasonable testimony of the accused that she had no knowledge of the riding activities on modified bicycles in the area and that there was no warning of such activities.

The magistrate also found that the accused’s statement that she was in the extreme left lane of the incident’s location in Jalan Lingkaran Dalam also concurred with the results of a study conducted by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety (Miros), which found that the accused’s vehicle was either driven at 44.5km or 75.8km per hour.

The court also ordered her suspended driving licence be returned to her immediately.

On Feb 18 this year, the High Court ordered Sam to enter her defence after the prosecution proved a prima facie case against the accused, thus setting aside the order made by the Magistrate’s Court in October 2019 to acquit and discharge her.

On Oct 28, 2019, the Johor Baru Magistrate’s Court acquitted and discharged the saleswoman. Sam, who at the time of the incident was 22 years old, was charged with driving a car with registration number JQB 9984 in Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, here, recklessly or dangerously, resulting in the death of eight cyclists at 3.20am on Feb 18, 2017.

The eight victims were Mohamad Azrie Danish Zulkefli, 14 (at the time of the incident), 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. — Bernama

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