A cabby failed to help after his vehicle fatally hit a motorcyclist. He even tried to cover up the accident.
Yesterday, Then Nien Fatt was jailed for five months, fined $1,000 and banned from driving for three years by District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan.
Then, 62, who now works as a cleaner, admitted to four charges: driving without due care and attention; failing to stop after an accident; failing to render assistance; and perverting the course of justice.
A fifth charge of removing his vehicle without police authority was taken into consideration during sentencing.
On Aug 11, 2015, Malaysian odd-job worker Tan Ser Chuan, 57, fell when his motorcycle skidded on the Ayer Rajah Expressway after the Alexandra Road exit. He had been trying to avoid a bouncing tyre. The court heard that Then, who was ferrying a passenger, saw Mr Tan only when he was two to three car-lengths away.
He was unable to stop in time and swerved his taxi, hitting Mr Tan. The impact caused Mr Tan to land about 10m away from his motorcycle. Mr Tanwas pronounced dead at the scene at 6.20am.
Then was driving at 70kmh to 80kmh without due care and attention when he hit Mr Tan, the court heard. Witness Zahid Samad, 47, a deliveryman who was riding his motorcycle at the time of the accident, told the police that he saw the tyre lying on the extreme left lane of the expressway and Mr Tan lying on the extreme right lane.
Mr Zahid heard a crash behind him and saw Then’s CityCab taxi speed past. Suspecting that the cabby had crashed into Mr Tan, Mr Zahid sounded the horn to get him to stop. However, Then did not.
After he dropped his passenger off, Then checked his vehicle and found that the front right wheel mudguard was missing. There were also some dents and scratches on the vehicle. He paid a workshop operator $180 to remove them.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Marshall Lim said considerable resources were expended by the Traffic Police to track down Then’s taxi.
A piece of the front right mudguard was recovered at the accident scene. Then’s taxi was subsequently recovered from a carpark near his home in Buangkok Crescent.
Seeking a sentence of at least four months’ jail and two years’ disqualification plus a $1,000 fine, DPP Lim said there was a clear attempt by Then to whitewash his wrongdoing by eliminating evidence that linked his vehicle to the accident.
“It is quite one thing to run away from the scene of the crime, and quite another to cover up his offending conduct,” he added.
Then’s lawyer, Mr Melvin Loh, said in mitigation that his client was remorseful that a life was lost.
Then, who was previously fined three times for speeding, could have been jailed for up to seven years and/or fined for intentionally obstructing the course of justice.
The maximum penalty for failing to stop after an accident is a $1,000 fine or three months’ jail; and for failing to render assistance, a $3,000 fine or 12 months’ jail.
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