Private-hire driver jailed four weeks for inching car forward against a man

PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A woman driver, who was involved in a minor accident with a motorist, inched her car forward while the man was standing in front, causing it to come into contact with his knees.

Quek Chin Fern, 43, then a private-hire car driver, was given four weeks' jail on Wednesday (Sept 27) for causing hurt to Mr Jazz Tan Ti Jie, 29, by doing a rash act to endanger life along Yishun Ring Road at 8.42pm on Aug 17, 2015.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelly Ho said Mr Tan was driving his car along the rightmost lane of Yishun Ring Road that evening when Quek's car, a black Toyota Isis, suddenly swerved into his lane from the left and collided into his car.

Both drivers stopped their cars along the road, near the entrance of Yishun Junior College.

Mr Tan asked Quek for her identification details, but she only provided her mobile. He then said he would be calling the police and asked her to wait for their arrival.

Quek refused and insisted that she had to leave.

Mr Tan stood behind her car to prevent her from driving off. She reversed her car and inched it backwards causing it to come into contact with the victim though there was no mention of any injuries in this instance.

Mr Tan then moved to the front of her car to prevent her from driving off. She inched the car forward while he was standing in front, causing the front bumper to touch his knees.

She continued inching her car forward for a distance of about 50m until the victim decided to step aside as he felt pain on his left knee and saw that his left shoe was stuck under the front right tyre of Quek's car. Quek then drove off from the scene.

The victim suffered mild erythema (redness) on his left knee.

In his mitigation plea, Quek's pro bono lawyer, Mr Gino Hardial Singh, said his client had picked up her 17-year-old son from his junior college and needed to drop him home quickly before continuing with her driving as she was "on the clock''.

Quek, he said, had been diagnosed in 2011 with emotionally unstable personality disorder and major depressive disorder.

She discovered sometime in 2012 that her husband had an affair. She was distraught and sad, and brought forward a breakdown of the family relationship. Her husband died in February 2013. She relapsed and was found unfit for work for six months.

"Chin Fern and her two children have been through hell in the past year," he said.

Last August, they were detained for allegedly abusing a Johor immigration officer. She had gone to Johor to pick up her children from Sunway College in Johor state where they were studying.

The trio had been living on the streets and with friends in Johor for a year after they were released from custody.

Her children came back in May 2017 after being acquitted of the charge. Quek remained in Johor and received a fine. She was arrested when she re-entered Singapore on Sept 16 as an arrest warrant was put out for her for missing a pre-trial conference over the offence involving Mr Tan.

Quek's sentence was backdated to Sept 19. A second charge of stealing mooncakes in August 2013 was considered during her sentencing.

She had previous convictions for cheating, misappropriation, attempted cheating, theft and causing hurt.

The maximum penalty for committing a rash act is one year's jail and a $5,000 fine.