$22,000 legal bill fully waived for family of dead NSF

PHOTO: Mindef

SINGAPORE - The legal costs that was to be borne by the family of the late Private Dominique Sarron Lee has been fully waived, Today reported on Thursday (Mar 10).

The family had been ordered to pay legal fees amounting to $22,000 to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and two officers, after the High Court threw out the lawsuit.

The Straits Times had previously reported that the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) and one of the officers, Captain Najib Hanuk Bin Muhamad Jalal would waive their legal costs, amounting to $16,000.

In the latest development, the second officer, Major Chia Thye Song, has also agreed to waive his costs, according to Today.

Pte Lee, a full-time national serviceman at the time, died on April 17, 2012 after suffering an allergic reaction during a smoke grenade exercise.

The former track athlete's family brought a lawsuit against SAF for failing to provide a safe training environment.

They also sued the two officers, who had been Pte Lee's platoon commander and the exercise's chief safety officer, for negligence. No criminal charges were brought against the two men, who had already been convicted of negligence by a military court.

After the suit was dismissed, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen had called on Mindef to waive the costs to the family.

He explained that while the High Court's judgment in awarding Mindef costs is based on sound legal grounds and precedents, there was no need to "add to the pain and anguish of the family of the late Pte Lee".

<<“My note”>> I wrote this note to MINDEF and SAF staff: When emotions are running high, we must respect the...

Posted by Ng Eng Hen on Monday, March 7, 2016

Earlier, Mindef had said that it had provided a one-off welfare grant amounting to $20,000 to Pte Lee's mother, Madam Felicia Seah, in 2012. The grant comprised a $12,000 SAF Benevolent Grant and an $8,000 Funeral Grant. Mindef also said that it had offered compensation to Madam Seah.

But in a Facebook post, Pte Lee's family clarified that they had not accepted any compensation, apart from the funeral grant to defray the cost of the funeral.

Following the Facebook post by Dominique’s mum, we have been surprised and touched by the show of support and words of...

Posted by In memory of Dominique Sarron Lee on Monday, March 7, 2016