Court quashes conviction of man who took rap for daughter in traffic accident

SINGAPORE - A 56-year-old man took the rap for his daughter after a traffic accident and was jailed for five days, after he falsely admitted he was driving the car they were in when it collided with a motorcyclist.

The lie came to light when lawyers engaged by the victim to make a civil claim alerted the police to the audio recording of the in-car camera, which suggested that David Ong had told his daughter Audrey immediately after the collision that he would take her place.

The pair later admitted to the police that the daughter was driving the car when the accident occurred.

On Friday, the High Court granted an application by the prosecution to quash David Ong's conviction.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Santhra Aiyyasamy said the conviction was based on David Ong's wrongful admission and that he had perverted the course of justice by taking the blame for an offence on behalf of another person.

The prosecutor said David Ong had deceived the court system to protect his daughter and that if he were, subsequently, to be charged and sentenced for the correct offences, this would be a direct consequence of his deception.

"The correct persons must be punished for the correct offences," she said in written submissions.

The accident took place in Tampines Avenue 2 towards Tampines Avenue 1 at about 10pm on Oct 15, 2019.

David Ong told the first responding police officer that he was the driver of the car. He maintained the false account in his police statements and claimed that his negligence and fatigue from working long hours resulted in the accident.

On Sept 28, 2020, he pleaded guilty in the State Courts to a charge of causing grievous hurt by a negligent act which endangers life or the personal safety of others.

He admitted that he made a U-turn without stopping at the stop line to check for oncoming vehicles.

He admitted that he collided with a motorcycle that was travelling in the opposite direction, causing the motorcyclist, Mr Muhammad Syawal Abdullah, to suffer a wrist fracture.

The in-car camera footage of a separate car that captured the collision was played in court.

David Ong was sentenced to five days' jail and a two-year driving ban.

Mr Syawal's lawyers alerted the police to the audio recording in April 2022.

On Friday, Justice Chua Lee Ming asked the DPP if the investigation officer had viewed the in-car camera footage from the Ongs' vehicle.

The prosecutor told the judge that the footage viewed by the officer was without audio, and added that the police are looking into improving the procedures.

When Justice Chua asked David Ong if he had anything to say, the man admitted that he was at fault.

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