A young woman who killed eight children and left eight others hospitalised when she smashed into a group of them playing on a road at 3am in the morning has been freed.
A judge in the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru, which is the capital of the state of Johor, ordered all charges to be dropped against 24-year-old Sam Ke Ting after deciding that the prosecution had not proved that there was any case against her to answer.
The prosecution had bought charges of reckless driving resulting in the death of eight teenage cyclists at the Middle Ring Road at 3.20am on 18 February 2017.
Magistrate Siti Hajar also ordered that the woman’s driving licence be returned immediately as well as a bale of MYR 10,000 (1,850 GBP) be returned to its source.
She said that the woman had been acquitted because at the time of night the road which was curved had been dark, that the young woman driver could not have predicted that there would be cyclists on the road at 3am, and that there was a large tree in the path which further reduced her visibility. The bike also had no lights.
She added that there had been “complaints about modified bicycle racing” using the modified so-called basikal lajak cycles that are designed to allow the riders to lie flat reducing wind resistance. As a result the handlebars are designed to be at the same level as the seat and the process of lying flat across the bikes with the hands outstretched is known as the “Superman” move.
Sam had also suffered unfair abuse online from people who suggested that the Chinese roots young woman was in the wrong. It increased racial tensions in the region because of the youngsters who died were all Malay boys.
Yet the magistrate was at pains to point out a test showed she was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, had not been using her phone while driving and that she had her seat belt on. She said this proved that she was driving responsibly.
The magistrate however did have harsh words for the parents who had failed to control the children allowing them out on modified and dangerous bikes in the early hours of the morning when the fatal accident happened.
She said the lesson to be learned was that parents should take more care in monitoring their children’s activities, and that the police should also step up their campaign to prevent such incidents by seizing such modified bikes.
The magistrate added that in future parents “could be charged under Section 53 of the Child’s Act 2001 for neglecting their child.”
Those who died were named as 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.
They were among a group of 30 who were on the road at the time of the crash who were all joyriding on their modified bicycles in the dark.
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