KUALA LUMPUR - A 21-year-old student was fined RM4,000 (S$1,410) for ramming his car into a police vehicle, an offence that was caught on video and went viral on YouTube.
The defence, in asking the court to spare him the jail sentence, cited a newspaper article which showed that the injured policemen had put the incident behind them.
Lua Norman pleaded guilty to driving while under the influence of alcohol, with a blood-alcohol level almost three times the legal limit.
His counsel, Mohd Khairani Samsi, in mitigating for a lower sentence, said yesterday that the policemen involved in the crash, in an exclusive interview with The Star published on June 27, had forgiven the youth.
He read out the first paragraph of the article, titled "Hit-and-run driver forgiven" and tendered it to magistrate Noorul Fhaiez Mohd Nayan.
According to the statement of facts, Lua hit the police patrol car while driving along Jalan Pudu towards the city centre at 8.55am on June 22.
The lawyer pleaded that the early morning sunshine temporarily blinded Lua as he exited an underpass, causing him to hit the police car.
DPP Nadiah Malek Fauzie argued that the fact that the driver had hit another car and kept going on showed carelessness on his part.
The prosecutor added that Lua's blood alcohol level was 111mg per 100ml, 76mg above the 35mg limit.
Mohd Khairani admitted that his client had been drinking at a party the night before, but claimed Lua had slept it off before driving home the next morning.
The lawyer said Lua would be grateful to have the case put behind him, as his studies abroad were to start on Aug 16.
Lua left the courtroom shortly after his family paid the fine, and even posed for press photographers.
He had originally claimed trial to losing control of his vehicle while driving drunk, causing him to crash into the police car and injuring officers Nor Alhayari Buyong, 58, and Zainal Abu Bee Din, 50.
Under Section 44(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987, Lua could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined RM20,000, if convicted.
However, he pleaded guilty after being proffered an alternative charge of driving under the influence, which carries a lesser punishment of a maximum RM6,000 fine and jail term not exceeding 12 months.
The five-minute video which showed Lua's Volkswagen Polo ramming the police car received more than 105,000 views within two days of being uploaded.