Public Prosecutor v Sy Yong Da

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeLorraine Ho
Judgment Date30 August 2021
Neutral Citation[2021] SGDC 179
Citation[2021] SGDC 179
Docket NumberDistrict Arrest Case No. DAC-912893-2020 & 4 Ors, Magistrate’s Appeals No. MA-9142-2021-01
Hearing Date17 May 2021,11 June 2021
Plaintiff CounselSamayata Ravindran (Attorney-General's Chambers)
Defendant CounselAmarjit Singh S/o Hari Singh (Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation)
Subject MatterCriminal Procedure and Sentencing,Sentencing,Criminal Law,Offences,Intentionally obstructing the course of justice,Road Traffic,Dangerous driving causing death,Failing to render assistance as may be reasonably required
Published date05 September 2021
District Judge Lorraine Ho: Introduction

In the early morning of 7 December 2019, a fatal hit-and-run accident occurred along Farrer Road. The accused, then 24 years old, was speeding on his motorcar, serving it abruptly from lane two to lane four of Farrer Road before losing control. The motorcar went off the road, mounted onto the left kerb and collided into a foreign domestic helper who was walking along a sheltered pedestrian walkway from a nearby market. Leaving the victim there to die, the accused drove off immediately from the accident scene. Instead, he sent his motorcar to an automotive workshop for repairs. The victim succumbed to her injuries.

On 17 May 2021, the accused pleaded guilty before me to three charges of dangerous driving causing death, failing to render assistance to the victim after the accident and intentionally obstructing the course of justice by sending his motorcar for repairs after being involved in a fatal accident. Two charges of failing to stop after an accident and moving his motorcar without the authority of a police officer were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing.

On 11 June 2021, I imposed a global sentence of 78 months’ imprisonment and disqualified him from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences (“DQAC”) for a period of 3 years from the date of sentence and 10 years from the date of release from prison.

On 16 June 2021, the accused filed a Notice of Appeal because he was dissatisfied with the sentence imposed on him.

Originally, the accused had wanted to defer serving sentence but changed his mind. The accused has been serving sentence since the day of his sentence on 11 June 2021.

Background facts The Charges

The proceeded charges read as follows:

Charge No. Description of the Charge
DAC-912893-2020 First Charge You, are charged that you, on 7 December 2019 at about 6.04 a.m., along Farrer Road (towards Queensway), Singapore, did drive a motorcar, SDV 8101 B, in a manner which is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the nature, condition and use of the road, and the amount of traffic which is actually at the time, or which might reasonably be expected to be, on the road, to wit, you were travelling at 78 km/h to 81 km/h when the speed limit was 70 km/h, and swerving from lane 2 of a 4-lane road onto lane 4 and then the sheltered pedestrian walkway along Farrer Road, and colliding into and killing Domielyn Santos Ocampo, a pedestrian who was walking along the sheltered pedestrian walkway along Farrer Road, and you have thereby committed an offence under s 64(1), punishable under s 64(2)(a), read with s 64(2D)(a) of the Road Traffic Act (Cap 276, 2004 Rev Ed).
DAC-918847-2020 Third Charge You, are charged that you, on 7 December 2019 at about 6.04 a.m., along Farrer Road (towards Queensway), Singapore, being the driver of motor car, SDV 8101 B, were involved in a road traffic accident in which Domielyn Santos Ocampo was killed, and property damage was caused, and you failed to render such assistance as may be reasonably in your power to render, in the absence of any police officer, and you have thereby committed an offence under s 84(3) read with s 84(7) and punishable under s 84(8)(a), read with s 84(9), read with s 84(10) of the Road Traffic Act (Cap 276, 2004 Rev Ed).
MAC-907549-2020 Fifth Charge You, are charged that you, on 7 December 2019, did do an act that has the tendency to obstruct the cause of justice, intending to obstruct the course of justice, to wit, by sending your motor car, SDV 8108 B for repairs at an automotive workshop located at 10 Kaki Bukit Road 2, #03-18, Singapore after you, driving the said motor car, were involved in a fatal accident on 7 December 2019 at or about 6.04 a.m. along Farrer Road towards the direction of Queensway, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under s 204A of the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed).

The first charge carries a mandatory minimum imprisonment sentence of two years and maximum prescribed imprisonment punishment of up to eight years pursuant to s 64(2)(a) of the Road Traffic Act (Cap 276, 2004 Rev Ed) (“RTA”).

Statement of facts

The accused admitted to the Statement of Facts (“SOF”) dated 14 May 2021 without qualification.

The night before the accident

On 6 December 2019 at about 11.00pm, the accused was out with eight of his friends at Icon Pub, located at Balmoral Plaza. The accused drank about 9 small glasses of beer mixed with Martell, a type of cognac. The accused and his friends finished drinking at 2.30am on 7 December 2019. Thereafter, the accused took a taxi back to Spanish Village, where he was residing, with his friend named Alicia. They arrived at his home at about 3.30am.

The duo rested for a short while. At about 4.45am, the accused drove motorcar no. SDV 8101B (“the motorcar”) to a 24-hour McDonald’s fast-food restaurant located at 10 Ang Mo Kio Street 12 in an intoxicated state with Alicia in the front passenger seat. They finished eating at about 5.35am. The accused decided to drive Alicia home as she lived in the vicinity.

After dropping Alicia home, the accused drove back home. He was still in an intoxicated state. The accused admitted that at this point, he was feeling very tired and sleepy.

The accident

At about 6.00am, Domielyn Santos Ocampo (the “deceased”), who was a 40-year-old foreign domestic helper, was walking home alone from the market along the sheltered walkway for pedestrians on Farrer Road.

At about 6.04 a.m., the accused was travelling straight along Farrer Road towards the direction of Queensway. The motorcar was on lane two of the four-lane road.

As the accused was approaching lamppost 44 on Farrer Road, the motorcar veered to the left onto lane four and thereafter mounted the left kerb. The accused admitted that at this point, his eyes were closed.

After mounting the left kerb, the front left portion of the motorcar collided into the deceased at the said sheltered pedestrian walkway. Due to the collision, the deceased was flung onto a pillar before falling onto the ground.

The average speed of travel of the motorcar before it had mounted the left kerb was estimated to be 78 to 81kmph. The speed limit of Farrer Road was 70kmph. The speed at which the accused was driving prior to the collision, the manner of the accused’s driving of the motorcar onto the left kerb before colliding into the deceased as well as the manner in which the deceased was flung was recorded in the crash and speed analysis report dated 4 April 2020 from the Health Sciences Authority (“HSA").

After the collision, the accused immediately steered the motorcar back onto the road and drove off from the accident scene without rendering any assistance to the deceased. The accident was captured on the Land Transport Authority (“LTA”) skycam footage of the vicinity.

At the material time of the accident, the traffic volume was light, road surface was dry, weather was fine and visibility was fair.

First information report and the deceased’s injuries

At 6.04 am, a caller dialled ‘999’ and reported the accident and that someone looked to be seriously injured or even dead. That person could have been knocked down. The incident location was reported as 6 Farrer Road, Singapore.

The deceased was pronounced dead at the scene at 6.20 a.m. by the attending paramedic. As a result of the accident, she sustained multiple injuries.

According to the autopsy report dated 10 December 2019, the cause of death was the multiple injuries sustained, which were consistent with injuries sustained from a road traffic accident.

According to the toxicology report dated 16 December 2019, there were no alcohols, volatiles or drugs detected in the deceased’s blood or urine.

The accused obstructing the course of justice

After driving off from the accident scene, the accused returned home to the Spanish Village at about 6.10am. He searched online using his laptop to find a towing service. The accused called a towing company at about 6.20am and about 20 minutes later, the tow truck arrived at the Spanish Village and towed the motorcar to an automotive workshop at Sin Ming Drive. The tow truck left with the motorcar at about 7.30am.

Thereafter, the accused woke his mother up and informed her that he had gotten into an accident and a tow truck had taken the motorcar away. The accused’s mother then asked him to have the motorcar sent to another automotive workshop located at 10 Kaki Bukit Road 2 (“the Kaki Bukit workshop”) instead, as she would be able to get a discount if the repairs were performed there.

Thus, the accused went down to Sin Ming Drive and arranged for the motorcar to be towed to the Kaki Bukit workshop. The accused followed the tow truck from Sin Ming Drive to the Kaki Bukit workshop and waited from 9.15am to 10.00am before it was finally opened to hand over the motor car key to one of the staff. The accused then returned home to sleep.

Police investigations to track down the accused

When the Traffic Police (“TP”) investigation officers attended to the scene, they noticed that silver portions of the motorcar had fallen off at the scene. This included a broken number plate holder with the words “Lexus – Borneo Motors”. This established that the TP were looking for the driver of a silver Lexus motorcar.

The investigation officers spoke to people in the vicinity and asked people whether they had seen a silver Lexus motorcar that had recently been involved in an accident. That evening, a security officer working at Spanish Village contacted one of the investigation officers and provided information in that he recalled seeing a silver motorcar being towed out of Spanish Village in the morning. The security officer also remembered asking the accused’s mother, who was walking into...

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