Penang bridge crash: Accused to enter defence

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A former hairstylist was ordered by the Bukit Mertajam Magistrate’s Court to enter his defence for causing the death of a college student by reckless driving more than two years ago.

Sessions Court Judge Ahzal Fariz Ahmad Khairuddin, who is presiding as a Magistrate, made the decision after the court found that the prosecution had succeeded in establishing a prima facie case against M Vaitheswaran, 23.

“The court finds that the prosecution had succeeded in proving a prima facie case against the accused.

“As such, the accused is ordered to enter his defence,” he said, explaining the three options available to Vaitheswaran.

Danial Saad/NST

They include remaining silent, giving testimony from the dock or a sworn testimony from the witness stand.

Vaitheswaran chose to provide a sworn testimony from the witness stand.

During the course of the trial, a total of 12 prosecution witnesses were called.

Vaitheswaran was charged with causing the death of Moey Yun Peng, then 20, who was also his friend, at Km4 of the Penang Bridge (Prai-bound) about 3am on Jan 20, 2019.

He was charged under Section 41 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987, which carries a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of up to RM20,000, if convicted.

He is currently out on RM7,000 bail.

Vaitheswaran’s driving licence had been suspended until the trial ends and he was required to check-in at the nearest police station monthly.

In the incident, the Mazda CX-5 sports utility vehicle (SUV) driven by Moey plunged into the sea after it collided with the Toyota Vios driven by the accused.

A dashcam video of the incident which went viral on Facebook showed the black Toyota Vios driven by Vaitheswaran, zigzagging the three lanes of the bridge before crashing into the Mazda CX-5 SUV.

The Mazda flipped twice across three lanes, then slipped past the concrete guardrails to crash into the sea.

A massive search and recovery team managed to winch out the white Mazda two days after the incident, which was submerged 15m underwater at Pier 34 of the bridge, heading towards Prai.

Vaitheswaran was represented by counsel K Paramanathan while Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohammad Nazri Abdul Rahim prosecuted.

Ahzal Fariz set Oct 28 and 29 for the accused to enter his defence.

Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, Paramanathan said the defence would be calling three people to testify.

“Besides my client and his mother, we will also be calling a health expert to testify,” he added. – NST