Sam gets six years’ jail, RM6,000 fine over deaths of eight cyclists.
Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh has urged Sam Ke Ting to appeal the six-year jail sentence and RM6,000 fine imposed by the Johor Bahru High Court for reckless driving in connection with the death of eight teenagers on modified bicycles.
In a statement today, Ramkarpal, a lawyer, said Sam should file an application for leave to appeal against the decision to the Court of Appeal as she had been acquitted twice before by the magistrates’ court.
“Every effort should be made to appeal the High Court’s decision to the Court of Appeal immediately, particularly in light of the fact that Sam had previously been found not guilty of the offence she was charged with.
“In the event leave is allowed by the Court of Appeal, Sam can apply for a stay of execution of her sentence and be released on bail pending the appeal,” he said.
He added that the magistrate had previously made various findings of fact resulting in the acquittals, which under normal circumstances would not be interfered with on appeal, unless found to be perverse.
“Although the High Court has the power to reverse the findings of the magistrate, this is normally not done as appellate courts are usually slow to disturb the findings of fact of a lower court.
“Whether the learned High Court judge had committed any error in justifying leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal remains to be seen, after a careful study of his grounds of judgment.”
He said the DAP’s legal bureau was prepared to provide legal assistance to Sam and her legal team in the filing and hearing of the application for leave to the Court of Appeal.
Earlier today, Sam’s lawyer had asked for a stay of execution to appeal the decision at the Court of Appeal, but High Court judge Abu Bakar Katar rejected this and instructed Sam to begin her sentence today.
Her lawyer, Faizal Mokhtar, had told FMT that they hoped to file an appeal at the Court of Appeal by tomorrow.
Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers were up in arms after the Johor Bahru High Court denied Sam’s request for a stay of execution pending an appeal.
Numerous opposition MPs argued this was unjust as there are precedents that allowed otherwise.
“If (former prime minister) Najib Abdul Razak can get bail roaming around pending appeal, so should Miss Sam,” wrote Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin on Facebook.
Ipoh Timur MP Wong Kah Woh said the High Court decision was shocking because Sam was not a flight risk.
“There was no risk of absconding since the day of the case.
“The decision warrants an immediate review by the appellate court. The appeal will be rendered futile if a stay of execution is rejected,” said Wong.
Sam, who had been charged with causing the death of eight cyclists at Jalan Lingkaran Dalam in Johor Bahru at 3.20am on Feb 18, 2017, was acquitted and discharged by the magistrates’ court on Oct 28, 2019 at the end of the prosecution’s case without her defence being called.
However, on Feb 18, 2021, the Johor Bahru High Court ordered Sam to enter her defence after allowing an appeal by the prosecution. On Oct 10, 2021, the Johor Bahru magistrates’ court again acquitted and discharged her.
The prosecution then appealed again at the High Court.