Father took rap for daughter in traffic accident, exposed by his own in-car camera

Nadine Chua
The Straits Times
June 14, 2023

The woman who let her father take the rap for an accident that she caused has been sentenced to 17 weeks’ jail, after her lie was exposed by his own in-car camera.

Audrey Ong Hui Ling, 27, was handed the jail term on Wednesday after pleading guilty to four charges, including perverting the course of justice.

For her offence of causing grievous hurt by a negligent act, Ong will also be disqualified from driving for two years from her date of release.

Her defence lawyer, Mr S.S. Dhillon, said her father had acted out of paternal instinct.

David Ong, who will appear in court in August, faces several charges, including perverting the course of justice. The 57-year-old was in court with his daughter on Wednesday.

The father, who was working as a Grab driver at the time of the incident, was jailed for five days after the 2019 accident in Tampines.

On Oct 15 that year, Ong drove the car her father had rented for his job, even though she did not have a valid driving licence. He was in the car with her.

At about 10pm, she made a U-turn at Tampines Avenue 2 without stopping to check for oncoming traffic and collided with a motorcyclist, who was going straight and had right of way. He suffered a fractured wrist as a result.

Immediately after the accident, David Ong allegedly told his daughter that he would take her place and assume responsibility for what had happened. She agreed, and he is said to have told police officers that he was the driver of the car.

He purportedly maintained the false account in his police statements and claimed his negligence and fatigue from working long hours had resulted in the accident.

In September 2020, David Ong pleaded guilty to a charge of causing grievous hurt by a negligent act that endangers life or the personal safety of others.

The lie came to light when lawyers engaged by the victim to make a civil claim alerted the police to the audio recording of David Ong’s in-car camera.

The recording revealed a conversation the father and daughter had, which led to him allegedly taking the rap.

Seeking a jail term of four months and one week to six months and two weeks for Ong, deputy public prosecutor Jean Goh said Ong had not only caused grievous hurt to the victim but had also entered into a protracted conspiracy with her father for him to take the fall for her.

“It was a deliberate and long-standing conspiracy which Audrey perpetrated until she had no choice but to come clean 2½ years later,” said DPP Goh, adding that Ong had admitted to the truth only when she was presented with incontrovertible and overwhelming evidence.

In mitigation, Mr Dhillon said the pair shared a close relationship, and it was paternal instinct that saw David Ong allegedly take the blame for his daughter, and not because she had told him to do so.

“After the accident, they were all in a panic-stricken state. It was the father who was controlling the situation... she went along with it,” he said, adding that David Ong no longer works as a Grab driver.

Mr Dhillon added: “It was very miserable for this young girl to see her father serve a five-day sentence for an offence she committed. She had sleepless nights.”

The lawyer, who is also representing the father, had requested for his case to be heard in August.

Noting that David Ong currently works as an IT consultant, Mr Dhillon said: “He has to tender his resignation on July 1 to be entitled to the six-month bonus. As a one-month notice has to be given as per company policy, he is ready to take his plea after Aug 1.”