25th November 2010, Singapore - Owners of Chery QQ cars across the country were seen celebrating the ruling by the Court of Appeal in the recent case of hit-and-run, reckless driving, inconsiderate driving dubbed by some reporters (well, it's actually us, but sounds glam when you put it that way) as the Amazing Lexus Adventure involving Cleopatra Wong who, together with her defence counsel, mesmerized the judiciary into stroking her wallet lighter of $2,400 in spite of nearly killing a cyclist - and technically stealing the man’s bicycle for over 2km.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal made by the prosecution that the original sentencing was too lenient and, in the spirit of tango dancing, the process seems to have been initiated although the outcome was likely to be unchanged. In a country known for the phrase “you die, your business”, the original sentencing judge had been incredibly helpful in pointing out how the circumstances were against poor Cleopatra Wong who, like any ordinary hardworking Singaporean, has a father who owns a 3,000cc Lexus car, lives in a semi-detached house at Sixth Avenue, goes looking for house guests at Zouk at 4am in the morning (and returns without said house guest), and doesn’t stop to check the vehicle when something cracks the windshield.
The appeal judge was similarly sympathetic to the driver – who must have felt like she was driving through Iraq, what with the evil canopy of trees along Holland Road that hinders one’s line of sight – and duly dismissed the appeal since everyone knows that fracturing a scapula is but a mere inconvenience and dragging a bicycle over 2km causes only ‘moderate damage’ to it.
While the case itself is an excellent testimonial for Lexus cars – which evidently can turn the basic incompetent or drunk driver into a ruthless assassin, the door has now been opened for vehicles at the other extreme, such as the Chery QQ - known to be one of the cheapest and poorly built cars on the road, with some even describing this particular model a ‘biscuit tin’.
Experts in the field of Offering Lame Excuses to Fit Desired Decisions were quick to point out that the sheer noisiness and unpredictability of these budget cars would leave the driver unable to determine if that howl was from a flying cyclist or just the wind escaping through the air vents. Similarly, the undercarriage which could drop out at any time makes it nigh impossible to determine if that hard bump was just a pothole or an unsuspecting pedestrian who got in the way of one's drunken vehicular escapade.
Meanwhile, lawyers who were in the midst of making arrangements to leave the country after securing some large deposits from their clients also shared that the Amazing Lexus Adventure precedent would invariably create more opportunities for creative lawyers who enjoy seeking out loopholes that benefit the rich at the expense of the man-in-the-street.
All in all a win-win situation for all the (economically-significant) parties involved, TOC wishes Cleopatra Wong a speedy recovery from the devastation of paying $2,400 for the barely noticeable act of rendering someone hospitalised for 2 days and then onto a month’s medical leave.
Judge Salinah Ishak in her judgement: "Nevertheless, it was not entirely clear whether the injuries suffered by the victim had caused him to be ‘during a period of 7 days in severe bodily pain or unable to follow his ordinary pursuits’."
Wikipedia: "The scapula is sturdy and located in a protected place, so it rarely breaks. When it does, it is an indication that the individual was subjected to a considerable amount of force and that severe chest trauma may be present. High-speed vehicle accidents are the most common cause..."