SINGAPORE - For the first time in Singapore's legal history, the prosecution on Friday appealed successfully to reduce an offender's sentence. His jail term was slashed from eight weeks to three.
The prosecution argued that the initial jail term handed down by a district judge to Lim Choon Teck, 35, who knocked down an elderly pedestrian while he was cycling on the pavement, was disproportionate.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Prem Raj Prabakaran told the High Court that the prosecution was pursuing the appeal to ensure that Lim, who does not have a lawyer, is punished fairly and appropriately.
"Justice works both ways, to the victim as well as to the accused person," said the DPP, who argued that an appropriate jail term was two to four weeks.
The DPP noted that Lim should be jailed to deter others from cycling on pavements, given the increased popularity of personal mobility devices such as motorised bicycles and electric skate scooters.
Lim is the first person to be hauled to court for hurting a pedestrian while cycling on the pavement, so there are no sentencing precedents with similar facts.
However, when compared to cases of rash driving, Lim's original eight-week jail term was manifestly excessive, said the DPP. He cited the case of a driver who was jailed six weeks for causing the death of a motorcyclist who had the right of way.
High Court judge Chan Seng Onn agreed and cut the jail term to three weeks. Lim, who has served 18 days in prison, could be released as early as Friday if he is given remission.
He was cycling on a narrow pavement near a bus stop along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 at about 7.20pm on May 17 when he hit Madam Chng Kian, 69, who was walking towards the bus stop . She landed on her right arm, fracturing her upper arm and wrist.
He handed his identity card to Madam Chng's husband but, before the 74-year-old could take down all his details, he snatched it back and sped off. The police tracked him down him from his identity card number.
Lim was remanded in custody after he was charged in court on Sept 1. Six days later, he pleaded guilty to causing hurt by a rash act and was sentenced to eight weeks' jail. The maximum sentence is six months' jail and a fine of $2,500.