HIGH COURT: SAF OFFICERS IMMUNED FROM BEING SUED FOR NEGLIGENT DEATHS & INJURIES

The Singapore High Court threw out the lawsuit brought against the SAF by the family of Dominique Sarron Lee who died in 2012 after an allergic reaction to smoke grenades during a military exercise. Dominique’s family sued his platoon commander and chief safety officer alleging negligence on their part.

Using a provision in the Government Proceedings Act, the SAF defendants argued that they have immunity from being sued for negligence for death and injuries as the acts happened in service.

Judicial Commissioner Kanna Ramesh accepted the defendant’s arguments and agreed that the provisions applied in this case, rendering the lawsuit invalid as the accused were indemnified from prosecution while in service.

On 17 April 2012, Private Dominique Lee suffered breathing difficulties and passed out after an exercise where 6 smoke grenades were thrown. He was evacuated to Sungei Geond Medical Centre before being transferred to NUH where he was pronounced dead that very day at about 2pm. The coroner’s inquiry found he died from acute allergic reaction to zince chloride, a compound found in smoke grenades used during the military exercise. It was later found that the number of smoke grenades used exceeded the recommended safety limits.

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