THE Court of Appeal has fixed March 31 next year to hear clerk Sam Ke Ting’s appeal to quash her guilty verdict as well as her six-year jail sentence and RM6,000 fine for reckless driving that led to the death of eight teenage cyclists on modified bicycles, or “basikal lajak” in Johor in 2017.
Sam’s counsel Harvinderjit Singh said the date was fixed after case management by the Court of Appeal’s deputy registrar Norkamilah Aziz.
“Parties informed the court that the records of appeal have been received and the petition of appeal has been filed,” Harvinderjit said.
“The appeal before the court will be heard on March 31, 2023. Parties are to file written submissions on or before March 16, 2023. Final case management to be heard on March 17, 2023.”
The 27-year-old motorist was also represented by counsel Faizal Mokhtar, Farhan Read and Yasmeen Soh.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Fairuz Johari represented the prosecution.
On April 18 this year, the Court of Appeal granted Sam leave to appeal against her six-year jail sentence and RM6,000 fine imposed by the Johor Bahru High Court.
It also allowed her application to stay the execution of the jail sentence and fine and released her on bail of RM10,000 in one surety, pending the hearing of her appeal.
High Court judge Datuk Abu Bakar Katar had meted out the jail sentence and fine against Sam on April 13 after allowing the prosecution’s appeal to set aside the decision of the magistrates’ court on Oct 10 last year to acquit and discharge her.
He also ordered Sam to be jailed for six months if she failed to pay the fine, and imposed a three-year driving ban upon completion of her prison term.
The offence under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 carries a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of RM20,000 upon conviction.
Sam, who was 22 at the time of the incident, was charged with committing the offence at Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, Johor Bahru, at 3.20am on Feb 18, 2017.
The eight killed in the incident were 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.
In 2019, magistrate Siti Hajar Ali acquitted Sam without calling her to the stand after finding that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case.
In her judgment, Siti Hajar said the court took into consideration several factors, namely that it was a dark, hilly and winding road where the driver – who was not local to the area – could not foresee that there would be a group of cyclists on the road at 3am.
The magistrate added that the bicycle gang had put themselves in danger.
Siti Hajar said investigations found that Sam was not under the influence of alcohol, was not using her phone, and wore a seatbelt while driving, proving that the accused was driving responsibly and carefully.
Siti Hajar acquitted Sam again in 2021 when the High Court ordered the plaintiff to enter her defence. The magistrate said the prosecution had failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The High Court then quashed this acquittal on April 13 this year. – Oct 13, 2022