Toddler at wheel: couple sent on course

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2011, 12:00am

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A couple convicted of allowing their 18-month-old son to steer a car must take a driver training course on top of the community service to which they were sentenced last week.

Magistrate Rickie Chan Kam-cheong added the requirement yesterday in Kwun Tong Court.

Property agent Keith Yu Cho-kwong, 32, had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, and his wife Ng Lai-wa, 27, admitted aiding and abetting the offence on August 1.

The couple were ordered to do 160 hours of community service and had their driving licences suspended for six months. Now, they must also take a driver training course before their licences can be returned.

Chan said last week the offence was serious and the court had to send out a 'clear signal' to the public such behaviour would not be tolerated.

Ng filmed a video lasting a minute and 50 seconds showing the child sitting on Yu's lap, steering a BMW. Police investigated after the video was posted on Facebook and YouTube, where it was widely viewed.

The defence said the act did not pose a danger to the public, as Yu was in control of the car and there were no pedestrians on the road.

But the magistrate said driving dangerously could be punished even though no damage or injury was caused.

He cited two recent cases in Britain. In one, a person was convicted of dangerous driving for speeding - even though there were no pedestrians nearby.

In the second case, a police officer was convicted over a crash in which the driver of the other car died, after the officer went through a red light while chasing a suspect's car.

Chan said if the car steered by the infant had crashed, the youngster could have been propelled through the windscreen 'like a missile or a flying golf ball'.

He told the couple: 'As parents, you cannot act solely on your own preferences. You must protect the baby because he is not capable of doing so.'