SINGAPORE: For dragging a traffic police officer with his car for more than 100m in an escape bid, a Maserati driver was on Tuesday (Jul 28) sentenced to a lifetime disqualification from driving, on top of four years and seven months in prison and a S$3,700 fine.
Lee Cheng Yan, 36, was convicted of 10 charges in December last year, including voluntarily causing grievous hurt to a public servant, failing to stop after an accident and obstructing justice.
On Nov 17, 2017, Lee, who was banned from driving at the time, drove his Maserati to collect a laptop from a man at Bedok Reservoir Road.
Police officer Khairulanwar Abd Kahar - who was in uniform and on a patrol motorcycle - had spotted him driving without his seat belt on and signalled for him to stop.
Staff Sergeant Khairulanwar’s uniform later got caught in the driver’s door of the car and he was dragged along with the moving vehicle. Lee drove 124m with the officer hanging onto the door, at a speed of 79kmh to 84kmh.
The officer later fell off and was given more than 20 days' of medical leave for injuries to his knee, neck and back and later medically downgraded by the Home Team's medical board.
Lee had previously denied being the driver of the Maserati, testifying in court that it was a person named Kelvin - who he said was of similar build and wearing a similar white T-shirt - who drove the vehicle on that day.
For voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter a public servant from his duty, Lee faced a maximum jail term of 15 years and a fine or caning.
He had failed to turn up in court for sentencing on three previous occasions as he was on medical leave, having obtained a medical certificate from a private clinic on all three dates.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Senthilkumaran Sabapathy had sought for Lee to be sentenced to four years and nine months imprisonment, in addition to a fine and being barred from driving for life.
He cited numerous offences Lee had been convicted of since 2011 - including driving without a licence and illegal modification of his car’s exhaust system - as well as a 2016 incident where his vehicle collided with a motorcycle, injuring the rider and his pillion rider.
Mr Sabapathy noted Staff Sergeant Khairulanwar continues to feel pain in his lower back, and that his injuries and subsequent medical downgrading had affected his chances for career advancement.
"SPUN AN ENTIRE FAIRYTALE"
Stating Lee had not been deterred by previous driving disqualifications and that he had “already hurt enough people on the road”, Mr Sabapathy said there was no reason for imposing anything less than a lifetime disqualification order.
He added that Lee had “all but spun an entire fairytale” in his earlier defence that someone else had been driving the Maserati at the time.
Lee's defence lawyer S Balamurugan however said that a lifetime ban would be plainly excessive, asking for a more appropriate term of disqualification in addition to no more than 24 months in prison.
Mr Balamurugan noted that Lee was taking care of his brother, who had intellectual disabilities as well as behavioural problems, while Lee’s parents also had a litany of medical conditions.
He added that Lee had not seen his two young daughters for more than a year, and that his Japanese wife was currently unable to enter the country.
The victim had not suffered a head on collision and his injuries were on the lower end of the grievous hurt scale, he said, adding that Lee had driven only about 19kmh above the 60kmh speed limit.
The prosecution however said that a sentence of four years and nine months in prison was proportionate to the totality of offences committed by Lee in this instance.
Lee intends to appeal against his conviction and sentencing.