Wife of paralysed man pleads for 'mercy'

SINGAPORE - The wife of a former Sembawang resident, who became paralysed after falling in a sheltered walkway, asked the High Court for "mercy" on Tuesday.

Her husband Aw Kian Chow, 55, who is suing Sembawang Town Council for negligence, alleges it had failed to properly maintain the walkway to ensure it was safe for residents.

"It's a fact that he had a fall at the place; the town council insisted it was not slippery," said Madam Angeline Zeng with a pained expression on her face on the second day of the hearing.

"The fall has robbed him of his life and shattered our whole family situation. Would that not be good evidence?" added the mother of two, who was on the stand for about five minutes.

Mr Aw, then a freelance accountant, was walking home one rainy evening in August 2008 when he slipped and fell. He injured his spinal cord and is now a tetraplegic. Confined to a bed, he requires ventilator support, artificial life support and two caregivers to attend to him.

On Monday, Mr Aw, who is seeking unspecified damages, had said that whenever it rained, water would overflow on the walkway.

On Tuesday, Madam Zeng, 43, also mentioned that the walkway would be very slippery when it rained, and that she had stopped using the facility after her husband's accident. The family no longer lives in Sembawang.

Also testifying on Tuesday was a passer-by who attended to Mr Aw after he fell. Mr Norfazli Satle, 26, who fixes horseshoes at the Turf Club, said he was at a void deck in front of the walkway when he heard someone shouting for help.

He also said the walkway was slippery when it rained heavily. For that reason, he added, he had not used it on rainy days since 1999.

The town council asserts that the walkway was properly maintained and that its contractor had used a proper material to ensure safety.

The trial continues.

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