Maserati hit-and-run: Accused insists he wasn't driver, DPP says he is lying

Maserati owner Lee Cheng Yan said he lent the car reluctantly to a man named Kelvin, whom he claimed he did not know that well.
Maserati owner Lee Cheng Yan said he lent the car reluctantly to a man named Kelvin, whom he claimed he did not know that well.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Suspect tells court he lent car to another man on day of accident

A Maserati owner, accused of being in a hit-and-run accident in Bedok Reservoir Road involving a police officer, told a district court yesterday he was not at the wheel of the car during the incident on Nov 17, 2017.

Lee Cheng Yan told District Judge Ng Peng Hong: "I did not touch the car that day at all."

The 35-year-old Singaporean had been disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles from July 2017 till April last year over earlier traffic offences. But before the end of the driving ban, he bought the seven-year-old Maserati for $175,000 on Nov 9, 2017.

He claimed he never saw the car before he bought it and never drove it, not even for a test drive. The Maserati was not valuable to him as it was "an old car", he told the court.

Lee said that about two hours before the accident, he had given the car keys to a man known only as "Kelvin", whom he had known for about five months.

He lent the Maserati "reluctantly" to Kelvin, whom he did not know "that well", the court heard.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Senthilkumaran Sabapathy questioned the existence of Kelvin and told Lee: "You are obviously lying."

The accused, however, insisted he was telling the truth.

Lee also said Kelvin was wearing a white top and checked shorts on the day of the accident. When the DPP pointed out that he was wearing a similar-looking outfit, Lee said Kelvin's top was "pure white", while his had "luminous" parts.

Lee had told the authorities Kelvin was "1.8 metres tall , fair and skinny". When he was asked by the DPP if the description fits himself as well, Lee replied "yes" but stressed they have different faces.

The court heard that neither Kelvin's surname nor address was given by Lee to the investigation officer. The only personal detail he gave was Kelvin's mobile phone number.

It was not stated in court where Kelvin is now and he will not be testifying in court.

Lee is claiming trial to 10 charges related to the accident, which happened around 9.20pm on Nov 17, 2017.

 
 
 
 

The accused told Judge Ng that after handing Kelvin the car keys, he went for dinner before taking a taxi to meet his friend, marketing executive Jeff Chan.

Lee said he arrived at Mr Chan's Kallang Bahru flat around 9pm and later received a call from another friend about an online video showing his car being involved in a hit-and-run accident.

After watching the video, he said Mr Chan told him to contact the police.

He also said Mr Chan told him to change his T-shirt to "avoid unnecessary misunderstandings" and handed him one to wear. Lee put it on and threw away his own T-shirt.

Last week, Mr Chan told the court a different account, stating that Lee was the one who had asked to borrow a T-shirt.

The police arrived at Mr Chan's home around 2am on Nov 18, 2017, and arrested Lee, who was charged in court later that day.

Lee is out on $60,000 bail and the case has been adjourned to Dec 4.

If convicted of causing grievous hurt to the policeman, he can be jailed for up to 15 years and be fined or caned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2019, with the headline 'Accused insists he wasn't driver, DPP says he is lying'. Print Edition | Subscribe