The life of NSF Private Dominique Lee was cut short during his service to the country. Dominique had died from an allergic reaction to zinc chloride, a compound found in smoke grenades. During an exercise, six smoke grenades, 3 times above the safety limit., were used. Failure to observe safety protocols constitutes negligence.
Despite being negligent, SAF, Private Dominique’s PC and the chief safety officer of the exercise will get away scot free. This is because of a loophole in the Government Proceedings Act which allowed the judge to strike out the lawsuit. Singapore’s law has again failed to protect its citizens, another sad day for justice.
This has grave implications for every male Singaporean, beyond the 2-year NS stint into reservist. We are now expected to pay a heavy price to serve our country under a you-die-your-own-business government.
Laws enacted by a one-party government serves to ensure minimum accountability and in this case, none. Is this not another sign of a morally-bankrupt government?
To rub salt into the wound, Captain Chia has said he “sincerely hopes that the family of the late Dominique will finally have closure over the matter and move on with their lives”. Closure when all those responsible for Dominique’s death are not held accountable? Should Captain Chia’s loved one be killed by the negligent action of another person, will Captain Chia be so forgiving if no one is held accountable?
Would the defendants not be held accountable if a white horse had been killed instead of NSF Dominique? Would Chia even dare to tell the white horse’s parents to move on with their lives?
A life has been lost through no fault of the NSF and the right thing for the government to do is issue a formal apology and compensate the family.
According to Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh, the 3 defendants are “not liable to lawsuits for negligence for deaths if the acts are certified to be attributable to service”.
In layman’s terms, the SAF will not be held liable for negligence for deaths in a court of law. Should any father’s mother’s son be serving NS to defend our ‘home’ when the government will not be held responsible nor accountable for negligence resulting in death?