British engineer appears in court over death of Lantau cows
A British engineer is accused of failing to furnish police with details on a traffic offence, after eight feral cows died in a hit-and-run accident on Lantau in June.
Sarah Wilson, as the registered owner of a private car, was to have submitted a police form within 21 days of a crash, Tsuen Wan Court heard yesterday. The form required Wilson to state her name, address, driving licence number and relationship with the offending driver.
It is unclear whether Wilson, 49, was behind the wheel at the time of the Lantau crash, or whether her car was the one that rammed into the cattle.
"The form is mainly for registered car owners to disclose to police who was driving the vehicle at the time the offence took place," Eric Cheung Tat-ming, principal law lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, said.
"Police usually do not have concrete evidence as to who the driver was. So they need help from the registered owner."
Wilson did not enter a plea yesterday to a charge of failing to provide police a statement on demand by June 26, after a notice was served to her over the June 5 incident. On the day of the crash, a resident found the animals lying around the Upper Cheung Sha beach section of South Lantau Road, where the speed limit is 70 km/h. A police report was made at about 3.30am.
The cattle had been left dead or dying by the roadside at Tong Fuk village for several hours. Five were certified dead and two, severely injured, were put down on the spot. A two-week-old calf was later put down at a clinic in Mui Wo because of a broken spine.
It is understood officers approached Wilson after receiving a tip that she was driving a car at the time of the offence. The driver of her vehicle is suspected of dangerous driving and failing to stop and report after an accident.
The Road Traffic Ordinance states that where the driver of a vehicle is suspected of breaking the law, both the registered owner and the person suspected of being the driver shall on demand give the police their name, address, driving licence number and relationship with the offending driver. A driver who fails to provide information to police via a notice faces up to six months in prison and a fine of HK$10,000.
Principal Magistrate Timothy Casewell adjourned the case to December 24, pending advice from the Department of Justice.