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With new evidence, High Court overturns conviction of man who went to jail for daughter after traffic accident

SINGAPORE — A man who took the blame for his daughter’s involvement in a traffic accident three years ago and went to jail in her place had his conviction thrown out by the High Court on Friday (Oct 7).

With new evidence, High Court overturns conviction of man who went to jail for daughter after traffic accident
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  • A High Court has quashed the conviction of a man who went to jail to protect his daughter
  • He took the blame for her involvement in a traffic accident in 2019 that left a motorcyclist severely injured
  • An audio recording emerged in 2022 and the man can be heard telling his daughter that he would “take her place”

SINGAPORE — A man who took the blame for his daughter’s involvement in a traffic accident three years ago and went to jail in her place had his conviction thrown out by the High Court on Friday (Oct 7).

This was after the prosecution came to learn of new information that the police had received in the case of Mr David Ong.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Santhra Aiyyasamy wrote in documents that were submitted to the courts that there was an audio recording from an in-car camera footage, where Mr Ong could be heard telling his daughter Audrey Ong Hui Ling that he would “take her place”.

The conversation took place after a collision that left a motorcyclist severely hurt.

On Sept 28 back in 2020, Mr Ong pleaded guilty in a district court to a single charge of causing grievous hurt by doing a negligent act that endangers the life and safety of others.

He was then sentenced to jail for five days. He was also banned from driving for two years.

Both Mr Ong and his daughter’s age and occupation were not stated in court documents.

DPP Santhra described Mr Ong’s conviction as a “serious injustice” when he perverted the course of justice by taking the blame for an offence on behalf of another person.

“Further injustice may result if the victim seeks to launch a civil suit against the driver,” she said, adding that this may affect any claim made by victim against the correct driver of the car.

In response to TODAY's queries about what action will be taken against Mr Ong and his daughter, the police said they were unable to comment as investigations are ongoing.

THE ACCIDENT

The accident happened on Oct 15, 2019 at around 10pm while Mr Ong and his daughter were travelling in a car along Tampines Avenue 2 towards Tampines Avenue 1.

At some point, Ms Ong made a U-turn without stopping to check for oncoming vehicles.

At the time the car was approaching the U-turn stop line, motorcyclist Muhammad Syawal Abdullah was already travelling along the opposite road and had the right of way.

When the car made the U-turn, it collided into Mr Syawal’s motorcycle and left him with multiple injuries, including a fractured wrist.

When a police officer arrived at the scene of the accident, Mr Ong told the officer that he was the driver of the car.

He again maintained this lie in a police report that he submitted the day after the accident, as well as when he was being interviewed by the police the next month.

Mr Ong was eventually arrested on Nov 24 in 2020 and charged on Sept 7 that year.

During the court hearing that followed, video footage from another vehicle was played. Mr Ong did not dispute the chain of events.

DPP Santhra noted that during Mr Ong’s mitigation plea at the time, he repeated that he was responsible for the accident, which was a result of his negligence.

Then, in April this year, the police were alerted to the audio recording between Mr Ong and his daughter “that contained evidence suggesting that the (Mr Ong) was not the driver of the car” when the accident happened, DPP Santhra wrote.

It was not stated who alerted the police or how the audio recording was obtained.

Aside from Mr Ong being heard as saying that he would “take (Ms Ong’s) place”, the exact transcript of the conversation was not given in court documents either.

Both father and daughter later admitted to the police during investigation on May 27 this year that Ms Ong was the driver of the vehicle when the collision happened.

This information then came to the prosecution’s attention, DPP Santhra said, adding that Mr Ong had lied to the police in 2019 “to shield Audrey Ong from prosecution”.

“Given that the evidence now shows that it was Audrey Ong and not (Mr Ong) who was the driver of the car at the material time, the conviction of (Mr Ong) in respect of the charge is palpably wrong,” DPP Santhra said, as she urged the court to revoke Mr Ong's conviction. The High Court did so on Friday.  

DPP Santhra also said that had District Judge Carol Ling Feng Yong who presided over the case in 2020 been aware of these facts, she “would not have convicted (Mr Ong) of the charge”.

Anyone found guilty of causing grievous hurt by doing an act in a negligent manner as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others can be jailed up to two years, or fined up to S$5,000, or both.

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crime court lie accident motorcyclist father daughter police false information

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