SINGAPORE, Feb 23 — A veteran criminal defence lawyer was sentenced to two months’ jail after pleading guilty to committing a hit-and-run on the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) in 2021.

Gregory John Fong Mun Yung, 50, of law firm Fong and Fong, was convicted of two charges under the Road Traffic Act on Friday (Feb 23). One other similar charge was taken into consideration for sentencing.

TODAY has asked the Law Society of Singapore about Fong’s status as a lawyer in light of his criminal conviction.

What happened

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On June 13, 2021 at 5.49pm, Fong was driving his car on the second lane along the three-lane KPE towards Tampines Expressway, near the East Coast Parkway exit.

A Malaysian motorcyclist, then 43 years old, was riding in the same lane in front of Fong. A car was near the motorcycle in the left-most lane.

Fong sped up and tried to overtake the motorcycle on the left side while close to the motorcycle.

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In doing so, his car was still largely within the second lane, in between the motorcycle and the car in the left-most lane.

This caused Fong’s car to crash into the motorcycle.

After the collision, Fong overtook the car driving in the left-most lane and drove away from the accident site.

A witness driving in front of Fong’s car reported the hit-and-run and gave his licence-plate number to the police around 5.55pm.

In-car camera footage from the witness that was played in court showed Fong’s car crashing into the motorcycle, causing the victim to be flung off and he rolled on the road a few times.

The footage also captured Fong driving off afterwards.

The victim was seen at Tan Tock Seng Hospital on the day of the accident and was found to have sustained superficial abrasions on his forearm, hands, thigh, knees and leg.

He was granted 30 days of hospitalisation leave.

A damage report prepared by the police revealed that the motorcycle had its left mirror ripped off, sustained scratches and had dents around the foot pedal.

Fong’s vehicle had scratches on the right side of the car and a broken right wing mirror, which fell off at the accident location.

‘Erratic’ driving

The prosecution sought a jail term of two to three months and two years’ disqualification from driving all classes of vehicles for Fong’s offences.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Selene Yap highlighted that the victim had suffered “grievous hurt” as a result of the accident and was granted a long period of leave.

Mr Hoon Ang Ping of AP Law Practice, who represented Fong, said a fine of S$3,000 to S$5,000 instead of a custodial sentence would be more appropriate in this case.

He argued that Fong had only crashed into the motorcycle because a taxi near him had driven in an “erratic manner” and encroached into the path of Fong’s vehicle.

This caused Fong to overtake the taxi, after which he felt a knock on the side of the vehicle and was “shaken and confused” which caused him to continue driving, Mr Hoon added.

He was also confused and lightheaded as he is diabetic and had taken his insulin injection prior to setting off, which caused him to feel lightheaded because of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Mr Hoon also highlighted that Fong had made a police report at 7.59pm on the same day where he had stated that he swerved right to avoid a taxi that had veered into his lane.

After that, Fong “heard a bang” but was unsure if the taxi had knocked into his vehicle or he hit another vehicle, he added.

In the police report, Fong said that he had later returned to the accident scene to check if he had hit any vehicle, but did not see any evidence of any vehicle involved in an accident.

“(Fong) has a very clean driving record for over 33 years and this was a one-off incident triggered by the taxi’s erratic driving. He had his family members onboard and would not do anything to threaten their safety,” Mr Hoon said.

In reply, DPP Yap said that the footage from the witness’ car did not reveal any evidence of the “erratic” driving by the taxi as Fong had claimed.

She said that if Fong had claimed to return to the accident location soon after, he must have done so only much later if he did not see signs of an accident as the police were present at 5.59pm.

In sentencing, District Judge Wong Li Tein agreed with the prosecution and said a fine would be “fully inappropriate” as it seemed from the footage that Fong was the one driving “erratically”.

The judge said that the impact on the motorcyclist was a “great one” that would have been unmissable.

She added that Fong being lightheaded due to hypoglycaemia would not be a mitigating factor if he was aware of his condition and still chose to drive, which could endanger others.

Anyone who drives recklessly and causes hurt to another person can be jailed for up to two years or be fined up to S$10,000, or receive both punishments.

For being convicted of leaving an accident scene without rendering assistance, or failing to stop after an accident, Fong could have been jailed for up to three months or fined up to S$1,000, or punished with both. — TODAY