One-month ban for cabby who crushed girl's foot

SINGAPORE - A cabby who ran over a 15-year-old girl's foot but repeatedly denied responsibility was given a one-month driving ban on Friday.

Chong Chin Fatt, 56, was turning left at a junction when his taxi crushed the teenage pedestrian's toes, fracturing two of them.

Instead of owning up to it, he claimed she had hurt herself while playing with a skateboard.

Chong was later fined the maximum $1,000, but spared a driving ban.

However, the prosecution appealed for him to be disqualified, arguing that his behaviour was irresponsible, inconsiderate and callous.

On Friday, a High Court judge agreed, saying the cabby had failed to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians and aggravated the offence by denying it was his fault.

Justice Tay Yong Kwang said he would have taken a different view had Chong admitted running over the girl's foot and apologised. But the taxi driver "persisted in brazenly denying responsibility", even after being convicted.

The girl, who cannot be named as she is a minor, spent 10 days in hospital after the accident, which happened in February 2011 as Chong was driving along Woodlands Avenue 4.

As he turned left into Woodlands Drive 44, the lights were green in his favour. At the same time, they were also green for pedestrians crossing the street.

The victim, who was wearing slippers, stepped onto the road while holding her 13-year-old sister's hand.

Chong's passenger, Ms Chan May Er, testified during his trial that she felt a bump and told him to stop when she saw the victim limping.

She then called an ambulance when she saw the girl's toes were bleeding.

Chong was charged with inconsiderate driving but contested the case, arguing that his taxi did not run over the girl's foot.

On Friday, Justice Tay said the cabby might not have realised at first that it was his fault.

But this should have become clear to him after he heard the court testimony of the girl, her sister and the doctor who attended to the victim.

Deputy Public Prosecutor April Phang argued that Chong had failed to see the two girls at the side of the road and showed a lack of remorse by claiming that the victim had hurt herself while playing with a skateboard.

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