Lawyers: Sentence for driver is fair

The delivery driver who crashed into the back of another car and caused a five-year-old boy to be partially paralysed was sentenced fairly, criminal lawyers told The New Paper.

Ms Gloria James-Civetta, managing partner of law firm Gloria James-Civetta & Co, said Lai Kum Tai had been charged with causing grievous hurt by a negligent act.

"This is a lower limb (of Section 338 of the Penal Code). Had he been charged with rash driving, the sentence could have been stiffer," she said.

She had previously told TNP that drivers charged with rash acts could be those who deliberately ignore red traffic lights or drive against the flow of traffic.

She added: "Drivers who commit negligent acts could be those who are not careful when making turns or fail to keep a proper lookout."

The maximum punishment for causing grievous hurt by a rash act is a four-year jail term and a $10,000 fine - double that for the charge of negligently causing grievous hurt.

Hilborne Law director Rajan Supramaniam, who has been in practice for more than 15 years, also said the sentence was fair.

"From past cases, an accused who negligently caused grievous hurt is usually given a fine.

"Had it been a fatal accident, it would have been more serious," he said.

The prosecution had called for a fine, and said there was no evidence Lai drove above the speed limit. The Attorney-General's Chambers told TNP it had considered all the relevant facts of the case and the sentencing precedents set in similar cases.

This article was first published on Dec 23, 2016.
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