JOHOR BARU, Oct 28 — The Magistrate’s Court here today acquitted and discharged a sale promoter who was charged with reckless driving that caused a road accident in which eight teenage cyclists were killed two years ago.

Magistrate Siti Hajar Ali acquitted Sam Ke Ting, 24, without calling for her defence, after finding the prosecution having failed to establish a prima facie at the end of the prosecution’s case.

The magistrate also ordered the immediate return of Sam’s driving licence and the bail of RM10,000 to be returned to her bailor.

In the judgment, Siti Hajar said the court made the decision based on a number of factors, including the dark and winding road condition where the driver could not predict the presence of a group of cyclists on the road at 3am and the danger posed by the cyclists themselves, who were using modified bicycles or “basikal lajak.”

“Based on evidence by the investigating team, there was a large tree in the path and the lighting was dim, even with the lights on at the road divider.

“The cycling activity is known there (location of the incident), there have been complaints about modified bicycle racing there. It is reasonable to expect motorists passing the area to know about it, but it only applies to the locals and those who use the road often.

“It is unfair to expect the same from other motorists who seldom use the road or stay in the area,” she said.

She said investigation also found that the accused was neither under the influence of alcohol nor using a cellphone while driving, and that she had the seat belt on.

This proved that she was alert while at the wheel, she added.

Siti Hajar advised parents to monitor their children’s activities, and for the police to tern stern action, to prevent such incidents.

“Hence, based on the reasons I stated earlier, if I decide for the accused to enter her defence, she chose to remain silent on the charges brought against her.

“The question is, will I convict her based on the evidence presented by the prosecution. My answer is no.

“Therefore, the accused should be acquitted and discharged without being called to enter her defence,” she said.

Sam, who was then at the wheel of a car, with registration number JQB 9984, was charged with reckless driving, causing the death of eight teenage cyclists at the Middle Ring Road, here, at 3.20am on February 18, 2017.

She was charged with causing the death of 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.

The charge was framed under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 which provides for a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine not exceeding RM20,000, upon conviction.

The prosecution was conducted by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Syafiq Mohd Ghazali, while lawyer Muhammad Faizal Mokhtar represented Sam.

A total of 46 witnesses were called to testify and 214 exhibits tendered during the hearing which began in August 2017. — Bernama