The recent High Court decision in the basikal lajak case saw the accused Sam Ke Ting sentenced to six years’ imprisonment and fined RM6,000 for a traffic accident that killed eight teenagers who were riding modified bicycles.

This case has caused public outrage among netizens, igniting heated debates over who should be held responsible for the accident.

On 18 April 2022, the Court of Appeal (COA) is expected to hear Sam’s applications for leave to appeal against the High Court’s decision and for a stay of execution.

Here’s a brief explainer of what these applications mean and what is to be expected.

Leave to appeal

Permission must be sought from the COA so that the appeal can be fully heard on its merits. There is no automatic right to appeal in this case. For now, Sam’s lawyer has to satisfy the COA that there is a question of law in order for leave to be given.

Questions of law could include how the Road Transport Act 1987 is to be interpreted. At this stage, the COA will not decide on the substance of the appeal. That would come after leave is given. The hearing on 18 April will not require the COA to decide whether Sam is innocent or guilty.

Stay of execution

Seeking a stay of execution is to suspend Sam’s imprisonment until her appeal is heard, should permission be given.

In cases where a person has been sentenced to imprisonment, a stay of execution is usually granted. It is a logical move to ensure that the accused – if he or she is subsequently acquitted – has not suffered irreparable damage due to time spent in prison waiting for his or her appeal to be heard.

What is expected

Given that the “score” is 1-1, as Sam was acquitted at the Magistrates’ Court but later convicted by the High Court, it is likely that permission to appeal will be granted. Should leave be granted, a stay of execution should also ensue.