Cabby gets stiffer penalty for fatal accident at crossing

A judge handed a taxi driver a stiffer sentence than that sought by the prosecution because the fatal accident occurred at a pedestrian crossing, and the traffic light was in the victim's favour when he was crossing the road.

Ng Chee Poh, 63, was yesterday given six weeks' jail and banned from driving for five years for running over Mr Sebastian Kae Sze Chieh, 31.

A person found guilty of causing a fatal accident can be given up to four weeks' jail.

Yesterday, District Judge Samuel Chua said if an accident occurs at a pedestrian crossing where the traffic light is in the pedestrian's favour, there should be an "upward calibration of the benchmark sentence".

Ng pleaded guilty to negligently causing the death of Mr Kae at the junction of Orchard and Buyong roads at 3.28am on June 5 last year.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Lim Yu Hui said Ng had dropped off a passenger in Oxley Road and was on his way to Joo Chiat - via the Central Expressway - to drop off a second passenger when the accident happened.

Ng had stopped at the red light on the extreme left lane of Orchard Road. Mr Kae was waiting for the light to turn in his favour to cross Buyong Road.

When the traffic light turned green, Ng made a left turn, and his taxi hit Mr Kae as he was crossing Buyong Road.

Mr Kae was thrown onto the bonnet, hit his head on the windscreen and fell to the ground. He died in hospital about 81/2 hours later from a severe head injury.

Ng had a previous conviction for inconsiderate driving in 2013.

Ms Lim, who sought a sentence of four weeks' jail and a driving ban, said the victim was wearing a light-coloured shirt, and there was no reason for Ng not to have seen him.

Ng's lawyer Seo Yong Chern said Ng has suffered "mental agony and emotional turmoil" since the accident, and is still being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ng could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for causing death by negligence.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2017, with the headline 'Cabby gets stiffer penalty for fatal accident at crossing'. Print Edition | Subscribe