Public Prosecutor v Pek Eng Hua

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeAdam Nakhoda
Judgment Date28 December 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] SGMC 44
Citation[2001] SGMC 44
Publication Date19 September 2003

Judgment

GROUNDS OF DECISION

THE CHARGE

1. The accused, Pek Eng Hua, claimed trial to the following charge, marked P1,

    MAC 3527 of 2001 (P1)

    You,

    Name : Pek Eng Hua, Male/ 50 years old
    NRIC No. : S0047420 I
    Nationality : Singapore Citizen
    Address : Blk 1 Tanah Merah Kechil Road
    #10-05

    are charged that you on the 24th day of January, 2000 at about 1.50 pm along Eunos Ave 3, Singapore, caused hurt to one Yong Swee Ing by doing an act, to wit, by driving your vehicle bearing registration no : SCR 8342 E over the right foot of one Yong Swee Ing so rashly as to endanger the personal safety of the said Yong Swee Ing and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 337 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

2. After a three-day trial I found the accused not guilty of the above charge and I accordingly acquitted him of the offence.


THE CASE FOR THE PROSECUTION

3. The Prosecution called a total of five witnesses, they were the victim Mdm. Yong Swee Eng (hereinafter "Mdm. Yong"), her husband Mr. Chee Han Choon (hereinafter "Mr. Chee"), the victim's eldest sister Ms. Yong Hong Eng, a witness Mr. Lee Choon Huat (hereinafter "Mr. Lee") and Dr. Ravi Pillay (hereinafter "Dr. Ravi").

    A. PW1 Mdm. Yong Swee Eng.

4. Mdm. Yong works in her family car repair business, Elf Autoboutic, at Eunos Avenue 3. In December 1999 SCW1067U was sent to Elf Autoboutic for repair following an accident. As the owner intended to make a claim against his insurers, Cosmic Insurance (hereinafter "the insurance company"), the accused was sent on the 15th of December to survey the damage to SCW1067U. By this time Elf Autoboutic had surveyed the vehicle and had put up an estimate of the items that needed to be changed, the costing for these items and the labour charges.

5. The accused was handed this estimate, marked D1, for him to record his observations following his survey. D1 was duly marked by the accused and he supported some of the repairs (marked with a tick), rejected other (marked with a cross) and questioned other repairs (marked with a question mark). The repairs that were questioned would be supported if there was further evidence to show that there was damage.

6. Mdm. Yong said that at this initial survey her father (hereinafter "Mr. Yong"), the accused and herself were present. There was a disagreement between Mdm. Yong and the accused over certain price adjustments by the accused. Mdm. Yong said that the accused had adjusted some labour charges, towing charges and wiring charges to a price below their cost price. Apart from this disagreement Mdm. Yong said that there was no further disagreement between her or Mr. Yong and the accused. Mdm. Yong said that she did not feel there was anything untoward about the accused marking many of the items on D1 with crosses or question marks. She said that if these items were subsequently found to be damaged then the accused would be called to verify the damage and the item could be replaced. Mdm. Yong denied that at this initial survey Mr. Yong became angry at the accused, assaulted the accused, and compelled him to sign D1 or that she or Mr. Yong uttered vulgarities at the accused. Mdm. Yong also denied that there were further arguments or disagreements with the accused when he returned to conduct a re-survey on the 13th of January 2000. Mdm. Yong further denied that her right foot was bandaged on the 13th of January.

7. On the 24th of January Mdm. Yong said that the accused was paged to come down and collect a supplementary list as well as take photographs of certain parts that needed to be replaced. She says that Mr. Yong arrived at the workshop at about 1.30 pm. Mdm. Yong proceeded down with the supplementary list and handed it over to the accused. She informed him that there were additional damaged items that had to be photographed. Mr. Chee then brought out the items and placed them on the ground for the accused to photograph.

8. At this point Mdm. Yong says that the accused told Mdm. Yong that he wanted to do a site survey and needed the exact location of the accident. Mdm. Yong said she would make a photocopy of the accident report for him, she then left him to photograph the damaged parts and went up to the office to make the photocopy. On the way up Mdm. Yong remembered that there was a damaged distributor cap that had not been photographed and she asked Mr. Chee to bring that out for the accused to photograph. Whilst at the office the telephone rang and as they were short staffed that day Mdm. Yong attended to the phone call but she called to her sister Ms. Yong Hong Eng, who was in the office upstairs, to photocopy the accident report. Just as Mdm. Yong was completing her call Ms. Yong Hong Eng came down from the office with the photocopy and handed it to Mdm. Yong. Mdm. Yong then walked out of the workshop with the photocopy.

9. Mdm. Yong says that the accused was sitting in his car with the car door open and Mr. Chee was standing next to the driver's seat of the accused's car. At this time the engine was already idling. Mdm. Yong then stood next to her husband but to his left, then put her right foot forward so that she could reach forward and hand the accident report to the accused with her right hand. The accused then abruptly snatched the report from Mdm. Yong and drove off without closing the driver's door and in the process the right rear tyre of his car ran over Mdm. Yong's right foot. Mdm. Yong said that she felt a sharp pain in her foot after she was run over.

10. Mdm. Yong then fell backward and Mr. Chee bent down to support her. Mdm. Yong looked up and saw the accused had come to a halt about three car lengths away he opened his door looked backwards at Mdm. Yong and shouted something that she did not hear. The accused then slammed his door and drove off. Mr. Chee ran to his car and proceeded to chase after the accused. Mr. Lee seeing Mr. Chee run towards his car similarly ran towards Mr. Chee's car and joined Mr. Chee in the chase for the accused. Mdm. Yong then says the following in examination-in-chief;

    Q: On seeing your husband drive away you became worried?
    A: Yes.

    Q: Do you have reason to be worried?
    A: I was worried because I fear for the safety of him and Mr. Lee because Mr. Pek has actually ran over my foot without any reason … I fear he can do something else to my husband and Mr. Lee. I was so worried and in a state of panic that I pulled myself up and went to Mr. Lee's car and went after them forgetting about the pain.

11. Therefore, Mdm. Yong got into Mr. Lee's car and chased after both the Mr. Chee and the accused. The chase and the incident that day came to a conclusion near Eunos Avenue 8 when there was a further incident involving the accused and Mdm. Yong resulting in injuries being sustained by both persons. This incident was the subject matter of a section 160 Penal Code charge against both the accused and Mdm. Yong. However, this charge was not before me.


    B. PW2 Mr. Chee Han Choon

12. Mr. Chee said that at about 1.50 p.m. on the 24th of January 2000 he was standing outside Elf Autoboutic talking with his friend Mr. Lee when he saw the accused arrive and walk towards the workshop. He shouted to Mdm. Yong that the accused had arrived and he then joined the accused in front of SCW1067U. When Mdm. Yong joined Mr. Chee and the accused at the car she handed over to the accused the supplementary list and Mr. Chee began to get the damaged parts for the accused to photograph. Mr. Chee said that the accused told Mdm. Yong that he wanted to conduct a site survey and that he asked Mdm. Yong to give him a copy of the accident report.

13. As Mdm. Yong was going away to get the accident report she asked Mr. Chee to also show the accused a damaged distributor cap that had to be photographed. As Mdm. Yong was walking off to get the report the telephone rang and as Mdm. Yong had to answer it she called out to her sister to photocopy the report. At this point Mr. Chee says that the accused walked out of the workshop and got into his car. Mr. Chee followed the accused with the damaged distributor cap in his hand. The accused started his car engine and as he waited in the car Mr. Chee asked the accused to take photographs of the distributor cap. According to Mr. Chee the accused ignored him and did not speak to Mr. Chee.

14. Mdm. Yong walked out of the workshop with the accident report and came towards the accused's car. Mr. Chee was standing next to the accused who was seated in his car. Mdm. Yong stood to the left of Mr. Chee and reached forward to hand the accident report to the accused. The accused then snatched the report from Mdm. Yong, immediately moved off and in the process the right rear tyre of his car ran over Mdm. Yong's foot. Mr. Chee said that the accused's actions were shocking to him because the accused had driven off with driver's side door was still open. The accused then halted about three or four car lengths opened his door looked at Mdm. Yong and uttered something before driving of again. Mr. Chee ran to his car to give chase and as he was reversing out Mr. Lee opened his car door and joined Mr. Chee in the car.

15. In cross-examination Mr. Chee disagreed with Mr. Nathan's suggestion that on the 24th of January Mr. Chee had first sworn at the accused and then attempted to prevent the accused from leaving the workshop by trying to pull the ignition keys out of the accused's car.


    C. PW4 Ms. Yong Hong Eng.

16. The Defence did not challenge Ms. Yong Hong Eng's evidence. However, her evidence is largely immaterial to the charge, she confirmed Mdm. Yong's evidence that on the 24th of January she photocopied the accident report and handed it to Mdm. Yong.


    D. PW5 Mr. Lee Choon Huat.

17. Mr. Lee said that he was a taxi driver who worked the night shift. He is a good friend of Mr. Chee's and said that he would often come down to Elf Autoboutic to meet Mr. Chee. On the 24t...

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