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. Pinay convicted of jaywalking told she mustn’t cross on blinking green light

04 October 2019


Defendant told she must not start to cross road when the green light is already blinking
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By Vir B. Lumicao

A long-time Filipina domestic helper in Hong Kong who stubbornly fought, but lost, her jaywalking case in a trial in West Kowloon Court on Oct 4 was ordered to pay a $350 fine.

Geny B. Toledo insisted before Magistrate Tony Li that she was not guilty of a charge of disobeying the red traffic light signal. She said the green light was still blinking when she began to cross, but the magistrate told her that is already a criminal offense.

According to the Transport Department’s Road Users Code, a pedestrian must not begin to cross the road when the green light is blinking. That means, you can only cross when the light is a steady green, but may continue even if it starts to blink.
Toledo was booked by a traffic warden for the offense on Dec 19, 2018, after she allegedly crossed Sha Tsui Road in Tsuen Wan while the red light for pedestrians was on.

In his testimony, the traffic warden said he saw Toledo step onto the road when the light was already red, then stopped on the safety island. She waited and crossed again when the light was green.

As soon as she had crossed, he accosted Toledo and asked for her Hong Kong ID card. He wrote down her ID number, address, and other personal details on a pocket notebook
The traffic warden was asked to give evidence when Toledo insisted that she did not want to plead guilty despite being given a copy of the facts that she admitted to beforehand.

Asked what her defense would be, Toledo said the light was a blinking green when she stepped onto the road and that she had a heavy load and her knee was very painful.

“But that’s not a defense, I have explained the law to you,” the magistrate said patiently, trying to accommodate the 51-year-old worker who had worked here for 23 years.
Toledo insisted she was not guilty and agreed to face the witness.

Ho, under examination by the prosecutor, described the incident similar to the defendant’s version, but differing only at the timing of the red light.

Cross examining him, Toledo told Ho that he only saw her when the light was turned red. But Ho disagreed, insisting she crossed when the light was red.

Toledo took the witness stand after Ho and said the same things about the blinking light, her heavy load and aching knee when grilled by Wong.

But at one point she said she was familiar with the road crossing, then changed it by saying it was her first time to cross it. She also said she limped while crossing, but, under questioning, she said she walked hurriedly to cross when the light was blinking.

When the magistrate returned his verdict, he said both parties admitted the facts, but he found the prosecution witness’ evidence clear and reliable.

He said Toledo was consistent, except when she said she was familiar with the crossing then contradicted herself by saying it was her first time to cross it.

Li said he found her unreliable.

He asked her how much her salary was. Toledo said she was receiving $4,510 but was saving only $1,000 because she was sending the rest to her family. Li fined her $350.
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