The decision of the Johor Bahru High Court today in allowing the prosecution’s appeal against the acquittal of Sam Ke Ting of a charge of reckless driving which caused the deaths of eight teenagers in 2017 cannot be taken further to the Court of Appeal unless Sam obtains leave to appeal first.
I note that the learned Magistrate had acquitted Sam twice in the court below, first at the end of the prosecution’s case and again at the end of the defence case.
I further believe that the learned Magistrate made various findings of fact resulting in Sam’s said acquittals which are normally not interfered with on appeal unless found to be perverse.
Although the High Court has the power to reverse the findings of the Magistrate, this is normally not done as appellate courts are usually slow to disturb the findings of fact of a lower court.
Whether or not the learned High Court judge had committed any error justifying leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal remains to be seen after a careful study of his grounds of judgment but I am of the view that Sam should file an application for leave to appeal against the said decision to the Court of Appeal urgently since she had been acquitted twice before by the learned Magistrate, which suggests that there are doubts as to whether she committed the offence she was charged with.
I am further of the view that Sam can apply for a stay of execution of her sentence in the event leave is allowed by the Court of Appeal and be released on bail pending her said appeal.
Every effort should be made to appeal the said High Court decision to the Court of Appeal immediately, particularly in light of the fact that Sam had previously been found not guilty of the offence she was charged with.
The DAP National Legal Bureau is also prepared to provide legal assistance to Sam and her legal team in the filing and hearing of the said application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Dated this 13th of April, 2022.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LEGAL BUREAU
DEMOCRATIC ACTION PARTY