BUKIT MERTAJAM: A former hairstylist was sentenced to three years' jail for causing the death of a college student because of reckless driving.
Sessions Court judge Ahzah Fariz Ahmad Khairuddin also ordered M. Vaitheswaran, 24, to pay a fine of RM10,000 in default 12 months' jail.
Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Mohammad Nazri Abdul Rahim urged the court to impose a harsh punishment in view of the number of fatal traffic accidents.
“There has been a lot of media coverage of this case.
"Public interest matters more than the accused’s interests," he said in court on Thursday (Jan 27).
Vaitheswaran's lawyer K. Paramanathan said in mitigation that at the time of the incident, his client was only 20 years old and just completed training as a hairdresser.
He said since being charged in 2019, Vaitheswaran had been unable to work because his driving licence was suspended.
He said his client also suffered from mental trauma because his friend died in the accident.
After the sentence was pronounced, Paramanathan requested a stay of execution.
“He (Vaitheswaran) is very young, and we plan to appeal the decision,” he said.
DPP Khairul Anuar Abdul Halim objected, saying that youth was “nothing special” as a factor in allowing a stay of execution.
Khairul said the court must view the accused as a convicted offender and consider the larger circumstances of the case, which were of public interest.
Ahzah then rejected the request for a stay of execution.
Vaitheswaran was charged with reckless and dangerous driving resulting in the death of 20-year-old Moey Yun Peng in January 2019.
He pleaded not guilty to a charge under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 for causing the death of Moey, then 20, at KM4 of the mainland-bound side of the Penang Bridge at about 3am on Jan 20 that year.
The SUV driven by Moey plunged into the sea after colliding with a car driven by Vaitheswaran.
It took rescuers two days to lift Moey’s SUV out of the water and recover his body.