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Property agent gets jail, driving ban for accident that killed Traffic Police officer

Property agent gets jail, driving ban for accident that killed Traffic Police officer

Photo illustration of a gavel (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A property agent who was involved in a 2015 fatal accident that killed a Traffic Police officer was on Thursday (Mar 7) sentenced to five weeks' jail and banned from driving for five years.

Freddy Toh Hwee Hong, 51, had claimed trial to a single charge of causing the death of Muhammad Mundzir Ithnin by a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide.

Toh was found guilty of failing to keep a proper lookout while turning right from Woodlands Avenue 2 into Woodlands Avenue 1 on May 21, 2015.

On the day of the accident, Mr Mundzir - who was off duty - was on his motorcycle and travelling straight in the opposite direction of Woodlands Avenue 2, towards Seletar Expressway.

As Toh turned right at the cross junction, he collided into Mr Mundzir, flinging him 5m from his motorcycle.

Mr Mundzir, who was 21 years old at the time of the accident, was taken to hospital and died the next morning.

The prosecution called 11 witnesses over the course of the trial, while the defence argued that Toh should not have been convicted as the motorcyclist was speeding.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua dismissed this argument as "a red herring", saying that the rider's speed was irrelevant if it could be proven Toh committed a negligent act that substantially caused Mr Mundzir's death.

LIGHTS WERE GREEN FOR DECEASED, 'GREEN ONLY' FOR TOH

Video footage presented as evidence during the trial, captured by a Land Transport Authority camera, showed Toh's car on the extreme right lane of Woodlands Avenue 2 at about 8.15pm on the day of the accident.

He stopped before the cross junction and was behind a queue of vehicles waiting to turn right onto Woodlands Avenue 1.

Toh followed the vehicles in front of him to turn right, although a white car that was on his left did not do so.

An eyewitness testified that he saw Toh's car turning right and heard a "screeching sound".

According to a sketch the eyewitness made, he had seen Mr Mundzir swerve left just before colliding with Toh's car.

At the time of the accident, the traffic lights were green in Mr Mundzir's direction, and were "green only" for Toh.

He had made a discretionary right turn - a term for when drivers are allowed to turn right at certain junctions at their own discretion when the green light is on, and there are usually no green arrows.

Toh testified that there were two taxis and a motorcycle in front of him, blocking his view of the oncoming traffic.

When the three vehicles moved to turn right, Toh said that he inched forward slowly to check the oncoming lane, and saw two lights "far far away".

With "28 years of driving experience", Toh said, he calculated that he had more than ample time to make the turn.

However, as he was completing the turn, he saw a "bright light approaching at high speed".

He hit the brakes but could not avoid the collision, said Toh. Mr Mundzir, said Toh, had travelled far above the speed limit.

Mr Mundzir's older brother began civil proceedings against Toh in 2016, seeking more than S$597,000 in damages on behalf of his brother's estate and their parents.

According to documents from the civil proceedings, Mr Mundzir was a sergeant with the Traffic Police at the time of the accident and earned an average monthly salary of S$3,680.

His salary went towards supporting his parents. He also intended to pay off the family's mortgage for their new flat.

At the time, the High Court allowed S$104,000 of the claims but reserved judgment as the amount was below its jurisdiction.

Source: CNA/ll(aj)

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