Maserati driver chided by judge after losing appeal to reduce jail sentence: report

He is also requesting to have his car back, despite being slapped with a lifetime driving ban

Lee Cheng Yan (left) lost his appeal to reduce his jail sentence. (FILE PHOTOS: Yahoo News Singapore)
Lee Cheng Yan (left) lost his appeal to reduce his jail sentence. (FILE PHOTOS: Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Maserati driver who dragged a policer officer for 100 metres in 2017 and repeatedly drove while being banned for life from driving wants a reduced sentence and his car back.

Lee Cheng Yan, 38, pleaded with a High Court judge on Wednesday (18 January) to reduce his jail sentence that totalled more than six years.

The Straits Times reported him saying that he was remorseful for “not realising the consequences when I had freedom outside”, and asked for leniency “so that I can reunite with my two daughters earlier”.

He also asked for his car not to be forfeited, saying that he wished to use the sales proceeds to provide for his daughters in Japan.

However, Justice Aedit Abdullah rejected his appeal and chided him for not learning his lesson.

“You don’t seem to understand the seriousness of what you have done,” The Straits Times reported the judge as saying.

“You should be thankful the sentences are not enhanced. You should be spending your time in prison to reflect, and not to reduce your sentences.”

A separate hearing regarding the forfeiture of the vehicle has been scheduled for 25 January in the State Courts.

Described as a menace on the roads

Lee was sentenced to four years and seven months’ jail and a $3,700 fine in July 2020 for 10 charges, including for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to a Traffic Police officer, who suffered back injuries that had a lasting impact and had to be downgraded from his job.

Lee was also given a lifetime driving ban, with prosecution describing him as a “menace on the roads” for numerous offences prior to this accident. Lee had also displayed a “shocking level of callousness” in failing to stop while the officer had been dragged at a high speed of 79kmh to 84kmh for about 124 metres.

Despite his driving ban, Lee repeatedly drove a BMW rented by his friend, and in 2021, he fled a police roadblock after failing a breathalyser test, beating two red lights while driving at 140kmh.

He was apprehended after a three-day manhunt, and was sentenced to a further jail term of one year, nine months and 16 weeks. The second sentence was ordered to start after Lee completes serving his first sentence.

Justice chided him for not learning his lesson

While the time has elapsed for Lee to file an appeal for his sentences, he nonetheless filed a motion in a bid to lower his overall sentence, arguing that the sentences for some of his charges should run concurrently instead of consecutively.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh argued that the second sentence involved offences that were distinct from the 2017 case that comprised the first sentence. He added that Lee had committed similar offences while on bail, and that Lee’s dangerous driving was similar to his conduct that resulted in the first sentence.

Justice Abdullah said he saw no reason to disturb the sentences imposed, which he said were “not high at all”.

CNA reported that Lee tried to ask for a lower sentence, repeating his same points, but Justice Abdullah responded sternly, "Mr Lee, you are charged this way because you drove under disqualification on three occasions. You drove on separate days, so you get separate charges.

"You have not learnt your lesson. I cannot understand why you can come here and ask for a reduction this way. You should be thankful the sentence was not the maximum."

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