Channel NewsAsia

"No offence was committed" by driver in accident that sparked off Little India riot

The bus driver involved in the fatal accident that sparked off the December 8 riot at Little India last year will not be charged.

SINGAPORE: The bus driver involved in the fatal accident that sparked off the December 8 riot at Little India last year will not be charged.

The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said in a statement on Tuesday that it has determined that the driver Lee Kim Huat (alias Lim Hai Tiong) did not commit any offence, after having reviewed the evidence in the investigation papers.

The papers were submitted by the Traffic Police in January.

The evidence included relevant video footage of the incident, the independent expert report, statements by witnesses, and autopsy and toxicology reports.

Video footage from the four cameras mounted on the driver's bus, capturing comprehensive views of the vicinity of the bus' external surroundings as well as its interior, was seized on December 8.

The bus at the centre of the incident had been ferrying workers back to their dormitories on the evening of the riot.

The bus driver was arrested a day after the riot and released on bail, pending investigations into whether he had committed any offence in the accident that led to the death of Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu.

The AGC said that shortly before the fatal accident, an intoxicated Mr Kumaravelu was asked to get off the bus for his misbehaviour.

He was later found to be moderately to severely intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of 217mg/100ml of blood, close to three times the legal limit for driving.

He got off the bus and walked unsteadily towards Race Course Road.

The AGC said video footage revealed that Mr Kumaravelu had started running after the bus, shortly after the bus had moved off.

He had placed his right palm against the left side of the moving bus, with his left hand holding his shorts and umbrella.

The AGC said Mr Kumaravelu's act of placing his hand on the moving bus, exacerbated by his intoxicated state, caused him to lose his balance and fall into the path of the moving bus.

During the entire incident, the bus was moving at a very slow speed of about 5.6 to 5.9km/hour.

At the point of the accident, the driver was filtering out of Tekka Lane into Race Course Road.

He was watching out for oncoming traffic from his right side and could not be expected to foresee Mr Kumaravelu's movements.

The period between the contact the deceased made with the bus and his fall spanned about four seconds.

No action will be taken against the driver, now that investigations are completed.

He is, however, a likely witness in the February 19 inquiry commissioned to look into the incident.

When asked, the driver's daughter Ms Lee said the family now feels a bit more at ease, but she added that a life was still lost. 

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna