Dangerous driver says he skipped trial for newborn daughter

Lee Yui-wai, 38, hit three vehicles while fleeing police in Mercedes-Benz

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 4:26pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 7:41pm

A man facing trial for dangerous driving missed his hearing because he was afraid of going to jail and missing out on his newborn daughter growing up, a court heard on Tuesday.

Decoration worker Lee Yui-wai, 38, was caught driving without a valid licence in 2014, but drove off, hitting three vehicles. He was due to stand trial last year, but failed to turn up.

At the District Court on Tuesday, Lee pleaded guilty to a string of seven charges, including dangerous driving, resisting a police officer and failing to surrender to custody.

In mitigation, his barrister said the father resorted to driving without a valid licence on December 10, 2014, because his then one-year-old daughter had fallen from a height, and he was unable to hail a taxi to rush her to a clinic.

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“At the time, his wife still had a learner licence ... There weren’t many options, so they chose to drive the car,” barrister Joyce Wu added.

The defendant later failed to turn up in court because he was afraid of going to jail and not being able to watch his daughter grow up, the barrister explained. Since then, Wu said, her client had worked very hard to prepare his family financially for what would happen next.

The court heard a police officer spotted Lee inside a Mercedes-Benz parked on a double yellow line in Tin Shui Wai on December 10, 2014. According to Wu, he had just dropped his daughter and wife off.

Lee then drove away only to find himself being tailed by a police car. He was pulled over and begged the officers for a second chance before driving off again.

While trying to shake the officers off, Lee rammed his car into three other vehicles, damaging them and injuring a taxi driver and a passenger.

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He was arrested after he crashed into a metal barrier, then failed to turn up for a hearing scheduled for November 24, 2015.

Lee was then arrested a second time in September 2016, when his wife called police after they had a dispute over whether he should turn himself in.

The court heard that Li had a long criminal record with 19 offences listed. In his mitigation letter, he pleaded for leniency saying that he was already in detention for another case when his daughter was born.

He said he had changed over the past year and had been attending English classes in hope that he could teach his daughter and set an example for her in the future.

Judge Timothy Casewell sought a background report on the defendant and adjourned sentencing to December 13.