Cronyistic twisting of the law – a mockery of justice?
The Straits Times reported yesterday of how the editor of state newspaper Sin Ming Daily, got away with one day’s jail and a $12,000 fine for knocking down and injuring a motorcyclist and killing his pillion passenger:
Lim Hong Eng, the 56-year-old executive editor of Shin Min Daily News, was there to hear the outcome of the appeal against her sentence for knocking down and injuring a motorcyclist and killing the woman riding pillion with him.
The appeal against her conviction was rejected, but the 11/2-year jail term dealt by a lower court was cut to a day’s jail and a $12,000 fine on two charges.
Yes, 11.5 years in jail was cut to 1 day. One freaking day. And to make matters worse, she didn’t even pay that full $12,000 fine. It was reduced to $2000 later. Yes, $2000 for the cost of one human life. Sure, she didn’t do it on purpose, it was accidental but she was trying to beat the red light when that happened:
On Friday morning, Shin Min Daily News editorLim Hong Eng, 56, had her 18-month jail sentence reduced to a one-day jail term and a $12,000 fine. She had maimed a motorcyclist and caused the death of his pillion rider when she beat a red light on Christmas Eve 2006.
Then, a second court session was hastily called in the afternoon, and Justice Choo Han Teck amended her fine to $2,000 after it was realised that one of the charges she faced — causing death by dangerous driving — does not include a fine as a penalty.
The $10,000 was returned to Lim, who had already paid the courts.
Her sentence remained the same, and the $2,000 fine was for her second charge, which the judge reduced from one of causing grievous hurt by a rash act to dangerous driving.
Almost as if the presiding judge were afraid that the case and its lenient sentencing might sey a precedent for future traffic incidents, Justice Choo Han Teck took pains to spell this out:
Justice Choo, who became a full judge in 2003 after serving as judicial commissioner since 1995, said that it was “not right to increase her jail term to the detriment of the accused” in lieu of the mistaken fine. He added that the case “should not be seen as a precedent”. He did not elaborate.
P.S. On a side note, note the poor quality of English the article is written in. Could the Straits Times get any worse? Article archived here.