SINGAPORE: An electric scooter rider, who collided into a six-year-old boy near Punggol Park and caused the child to suffer fractures and temporary loss of hearing, was sentenced to five days' jail on Thursday (Nov 7).
Neo Wei Chia, 42, pleaded guilty to one charge of causing grievous hurt by a negligent act.
He admitted to failing to keep a proper lookout while riding his e-scooter along a section of Punggol Park Connector along Upper Serangoon Road on the evening of Apr 12, 2018.
The court heard that Neo was riding his device "speedily" on the right side of the park connector at about 6.30pm that day.
The boy was riding pillion on the back of a bicycle with his grandmother in front when they neared the Riversails condominium where he lived.
He told his grandmother he wanted to get off the bike and he did so. The elderly woman continued cycling as the child ran along.
Neo had a clear view of the path that the boy was running on, but did not slow down, said Deputy Public Prosecutor R Arvindren.
Suddenly, the boy crossed over from the left side of the park connector to the right.
Neo did not keep a proper lookout for him and by the time he noticed him directly in front of his e-scooter, it was too late.
He applied the emergency brakes, but collided with the boy from behind.
Both of them fell to the ground and were injured, with the boy bleeding from his left ear.
The elderly woman rushed to her grandson as Neo waited with the boy.
They were each taken to hospital. The boy suffered fractures and multiple abrasions on his shoulder, arm and knee.
He also suffered a laceration on his ear and suffered temporary hearing loss, and was given 14 days of hospitalisation leave.
Neo had abrasions on his elbows, fingers and knee.
The prosecution asked for a week's jail, citing the need for pedestrian safety.
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"The recent spate of accidents involving personal mobility devices (PMDs) knocking down hapless pedestrians or members of public would indicate to the courts that such negligent riding offences are prevalent," he said, adding that parliament had discussed PMD issues just this week.
"As such, there must be a sufficient measure of deterrence to ensure that PMD users who share the same space as pedestrians take extra care to ensure that they are doing so in a lawful and safe manner."
Defence lawyer K Jayakumar Naidu said he agreed to a week's jail as asked for by the prosecution.
He said his client had tried to compensate for the boy's injuries, but was told that the family would be making claims from their own insurers.
His client was riding his e-scooter along a shared path and Neo was travelling along the designated lane.
"The accused was maintaining his lane when all of a sudden the child dashed across his right of way," said the lawyer.
He maintained that Neo was not speeding and did not see the boy's grandmother nearby, claiming that the child had "dashed out from the grass verge".
The court heard that the victim had since recovered from his injuries and hearing loss.
The judge agreed that there is a need for general deterrence in cases involving PMDs, with concern and public interest in such cases.
He ordered the e-scooter to be forfeited.
For causing grievous hurt by a negligent act, Neo could have been jailed for up to two years, fined up to S$5,000, or both.