SINGAPORE - After sharing a bottle of red wine with a prospective employer, the former head of an investment company, Levin Lee Keng Weng, decided to drive home.
As he drove along Bukit Timah Road in the leftmost lane at about 11pm on Nov 28 last year, the 53-year-old lost control of his car, swerved to the left and crashed into concrete construction barricades in front of Balmoral Plaza.
While no pedestrians were hurt and there was no damage to public property, the accident was Lee's third drink-driving offence and earned him a lifetime ban from driving all classes of vehicles.
Appearing in court on Wednesday (Nov 25), Lee hung his head as he was handed the sentence, which also included 12 weeks' jail and a $15,000 fine.
The court heard that Lee had been convicted of drink driving in 2001 and 2010.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh called Lee a "serious repeat offender" and urged the court to sentence Lee to at least 12 weeks' imprisonment, a fine of $15,000, and lifetime disqualification.
His lawyer, Mr Vinit Chhabra, told the court that on the night of his latest drink driving offence, he was meeting a prospective employer after being without a job for a long time.
He added that his client was suffering from major depression and went through a divorce earlier this year. "He has dealt with a lot of personal challenges this year," said Mr Chhabra, noting that Lee was not using this as an excuse for his actions.
He also noted that his client has made "many significant contributions to society" such as by donating to charity.
The court heard that Lee had gone for drinks at the Chinese Swimming Club between 5pm and 9pm on Nov 28, 2019, and shared a bottle of red wine with another person.
He later got into the accident at about 11.11pm. Footage caught on Lee's in-car camera was played in court.
Police who arrived on the scene said they noticed that Lee had bloodshot eyes, smelled of alcohol, his face was flushed and he had an unsteady gait.
When asked if he had consumed alcohol, Lee initially denied having done so but a breath analyser test detected traces of alcohol. He then admitted that he had been drinking that night.
A blood sample taken between 3.20am and 4.30am showed that the alcohol in his blood exceeded the legal limit.
In sentencing Lee, District Judge Lorraine Ho noted that there were "no special reasons" for Lee to be driving and that he chose to drive to and from the club while being "acutely aware" that he had two previous drink-driving offences.