23 November 2017
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Rifle group told to pay costs to national body

Straits Times
03 Nov 2017
K.C. Vijayan

The Singapore Rifle Association (SRA), which lost a claim for more than $450,000 in the High Court against national body Singapore Shooting Association (SSA), was ordered to pay $85,600 in costs by the High Court.

The original sum SRA sought was for one of two claims against SSA for losses caused in its basement armoury by two floods, which occurred in 2014 and 2015, at the National Shooting Centre (NSC) premises in Choa Chu Kang Road.

SRA succeeded only in the second claim of $4,708 in relation to the May 2015 flood.

"In making this costs order, I considered that the SSA had succeeded in defending the SRA's main and largest claim in respect of the first flood, while the SRA had succeeded in its claim in respect of the second flood which was much smaller in quantum," wrote Justice Debbie Ong. "An appropriate costs award should reflect any split outcome," she added in judgment grounds released on Monday.

In court hearings held earlier this year, SRA had alleged the first flood in May 2014 had damaged more than 185,000 rounds of ammunition and target papers that were submerged for hours. It emerged that soil from the slope lining one side of an unlined drain had slid into the drain. This stopped water in the drain from flowing through a culvert and out of the NSC, resulting instead in a backflow to the main building. SRA's lawyer Wendell Wong alleged that the losses were caused by negligence on the part of SSA, which had a duty to maintain the drainage network.

The second flood in May 2015 occurred because the relevant culvert was choked by debris, which likewise caused a backflow. SRA claimed $4,708 for the cleaning works. On this occasion, the ammunition and target papers were not affected.

SSA, defended by lawyer Anthony Lee, disputed the claims and denied liability on several grounds.

Justice Ong found on balance that it had not been shown that if SSA had exercised reasonable care, "it would have prevented the first flood from occurring due to the landslip". "I find that SSA's breach of its duty to maintain and supervise the premises in the particular manner I have outlined could not be said to have caused the first flood," she said.

But by May 2015, SSA was in clear control of the premises and had failed to avoid another flood despite being alerted to the inadequacy of the drainage infrastructure, Justice Ong said. Despite the SSA having been alerted by various sources, "it was a clear failure of maintenance that led to clogging of the unlined drain with debris," she said, explaining why SSA was liable for monies used on cleaning works following the second flood. SRA is appealing against the judgment.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.