SINGAPORE: A police officer behind the wheel of a police van while patrolling the Geylang area with his team made a discretionary right turn at a junction and hit a motorcyclist.
The motorcyclist suffered severe injuries in the collision, including a brain injury and fractures to his skull, rib and fingers.
Johann Pak Zhuo-En, 26, was sentenced on Monday (May 15) to three months’ jail and banned from driving for five years.
He pleaded guilty to one count under the Road Traffic Act of driving a motor vehicle without reasonable consideration for other road users, by failing to give way to the motorcyclist.
A second similar charge relating to injuries suffered by two other people in the police van was taken into consideration.
The court heard that Pak, a police officer with the rank of sergeant attached to Bedok Police Division, was conducting patrolling duties in the Geylang area on the night of Aug 23, 2020.
There were four other passengers in the van – on-duty national service reservist police officers conducting the patrol with Pak.
THE RIGHT TURN
When Pak reached the junction of Aljunied Road and Sims Avenue at about 10.40pm, he made a discretionary right turn into Sims Avenue.
The traffic light in his direction was showing green only.
The victim, 44-year-old Wang Xiaoyong, was riding his motorcycle and going straight along Aljunied Road towards Guillemard Road from Pak’s opposite direction.
Mr Wang had the right of way, said the prosecution.
However, Pak did not give way to Mr Wang. His police van collided with the motorcycle.
Pak immediately stepped on his brakes, stopped the van and alighted with his colleagues to check on the victim before calling for an ambulance.
The victim was taken conscious to hospital, but suffered multiple injuries including severe traumatic brain injury, multiple skull and facial fractures, and post-traumatic amnesia. He also lost eight teeth as a result.
He was given 147 days’ hospitalisation leave. In the aftermath, he had a slower gait and reduced walking capacity, and had to undergo rehabilitation. He was later discharged to a private nursing home but experienced insomnia and jaw pain.
The victim stayed at the nursing home until July 2022 and later returned to China.
Investigations revealed that the motorcyclist was within the speed limit at the time, going between 63kmh and 71kmh before entering the yellow box at the junction.
Based on video footage, Pak was going at an estimated speed of 25kmh to 28kmh when making the right turn.
The prosecution asked for two to three months’ jail and a driving ban of five years for Pak, who has no previous convictions.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Hidayat Amir said the victim suffered a multiple array of fractures in different parts of his body and required complex, multiple surgical interventions.
Defence lawyer Laurence Goh asked for a high fine or not more than two weeks’ jail.
He said his client was not speeding, and was in fact “way below the speed limit” as he approached the junction.
He said that while the victim suffered some serious injuries, he was eventually assessed to suffer no permanent disability.
His current state cannot be ascertained as the victim had returned to China, said the lawyer.
He said his client would like to have the case closed as soon as possible and move on with his life. He has not been suspended and hopes to continue serving in the police force.
CNA has contacted SPF for more information.