Friday, June 14, 2024
30 C
Brunei Town

Fine not enough for reckless driver in high speed chase

Fadley Faisal

The High Court imposed a jail sentence on a driver involved in a high speed chase with the police through opposing traffic, following an appeal from the public prosecutor for a harsher sentence instead of a BND2,500 fine.

Mohammad Khairul Adzmie bin Sahari had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving and failing to stop on police orders.

The Magistrate’s Court had ordered him to settle a BND2,500 fine or serve two months and two weeks’ jail in default.

During the appeal, Prosecutor Hajah Siti Mu’izzah binti Haji Sabli, on behalf of the Public Prosecutor submitted that the Magistrate’s Court had failed to weigh the aggravating factors in the case sufficiently to warrant a custodial sentence.

The appellant highlighted aggravating factors in Mohammad Khairul Adzmie bin Sahari’s case, including his dangerous manner of evading arrest by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), with the NCB having to call for police assistance and his persistence in fleeing from authorities. The appellant added that in the process, he had risked the lives of other road users.

Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong on handing the decision, pointed out that it “was a serious case of dangerous driving with a high culpability from the respondent”, adding that the prolonged, persistent and deliberate course of dangerous driving by the respondent demonstrates a “selfish disregard” for the lives of others, especially the enforcement officers.

On account of the Chief Justice’s findings, the Magistrate’s Court order of a BND2,500 fine was quashed and substituted to a jail sentence of four months and four weeks.

The incident began with Mohammad Khairul Adzmie running away from NCB officers trying to arrest him at Rumah Pusat Bahagia, Kampong Sibut on February 2, 2021.

The NCB sought for Bangar Police Station personnel to detain him, who escaped in his car, while giving him chase. At 7.45pm, as he was driving along Jalan Labu, he saw a police roadblock ahead and made a U-turn on a single carriageway despite the oncoming traffic, causing chaos to other road users.

The police saw his car and chased after him. The high speed pursuit went in the opposite direction of traffic, and other motorists were taken by surprise.

The defendant kept ignoring police orders even when they were alongside his car.

The police overtook him in an attempt to slow him down, but instead, the defendant rammed into the back of the police car.

The collision brought the cars of Mohammad Khairul Adzmie and the police to a halt.

However, he persisted in his attempt to drive away before hitting a roadside barrier, which led to his arrest.