Man borrows minibus, causes 2 deaths in accident
A MOTORIST who crashed into a motorcycle, killing its rider and his pillion-riding wife, was jailed for eight weeks yesterday and banned from driving for five years.
Nigel John Retnam, 22, had been driving his friend's minibus and was on the way to visit family members when he hit delivery rider Wong Sang Min, 63, and his 60-year-old wife, Ng Soo Kiew.
The impact of the collision sent their motorbike crashing into the back of a car and flung the couple off the machine. Mr Wong was pronounced dead at the scene while his wife died three days later.
Retnam admitted causing their deaths through his negligence at about 2.30pm on July 19 last year.
He also admitted causing hurt to Zaharah Haji Mohamed Yasir, 41, who was in the front passenger seat of the Hyundai car. She was hurt when the car, driven by her 46-year-old husband, surged forward and she hit her chest on the front dashboard.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Ong said Retnam, then a full-time national serviceman, had borrowed the 11-seater minibus from a friend so he could visit his father at the Institute of Mental Health and his sister in Yishun.
The court heard that Retnam had not been keeping a proper lookout before the accident, which occurred as he was driving along Yishun Avenue 2 towards Canberra Link.
Two other charges of driving the minibus without a vocational licence and insurance coverage were taken into consideration.
Retnam's lawyer, S. S. Dhillon, said in mitigation that his client has been suffering from nightmares and "mental agony" since the accident.
He added that Retnam is deeply remorseful for having caused the deaths of two people and extends his deepest regret and sympathy to the family.
He said his client's family have sold their home to settle their financial problems.
DPP Ong, who sought a sentence of at least eight to 10 weeks' jail and a driving ban, said there was "absolutely no reason" for Retnam to drive the minibus as there were alternative transport options.
Retnam could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for causing death by negligence. For the other offences, he could have been jailed for up to six months and/or fined up to $2,500.