Aussie woman fined, disqualified from driving for fatal accident

Katie Maree Roberts had pleaded guilty to one count of performing a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide.
Katie Maree Roberts had pleaded guilty to one count of performing a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - An Australian woman was fined $5,000 and disqualified from driving for four years on Tuesday (Jan 10) for causing the death of a motorcyclist, who did not possess a valid licence.

Katie Maree Roberts, now 45, who pleaded guilty to one count of performing a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, failed to keep a proper lookout as she was driving her car along Pan Island Expressway towards Changi Airport at around 4.40pm on Sept 21, 2015.

Roberts, who worked as an editor for Expat Living magazine, was on the extreme right lane of the five-lane highway and was filtering to the left when she collided into motorcyclist Loh Lin Ken, 25.

He fell and was swept underneath a passing lorry travelling on the third lane. Paramedics later pronounced Mr Loh dead at the scene.

It is not known what speeds both were travelling at when the accident took place.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Dora Tay urged District Judge Tan Jen Tse to sentence Roberts to an $8,000 fine and disqualify her from driving for between three and four years.

Stressing that road safety is a shared responsibility, she added: "Every driver who gets behind the wheel must appreciate the responsibility placed upon his or her shoulders."

Roberts' lawyer, Mr Sunil Sudheesan, asked for his client to be fined between $1,000 and $3,000.

He told Judge Tan that Mr Loh was riding on the road despite not possessing a motorcycle licence.

Mr Sudheesan also said the motorcyclist had straddled between the two right-most lanes by riding on the white dotted line "knowing full well that the two right most lanes were lanes where vehicles generally travel at a higher speed and where most vehicles execute lane changes to overtake other vehicles".

He said: "A responsible person with the full training required to possess a licence would not have taken these risks."

Before handing out the sentence, Judge Tan noted that Mr Loh was an unlicensed rider and had tried to overtake in a dangerous manner.

For performing a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, Roberts could have been jailed up to two years and fined.