Aussie lawyer suing RWS accused of targeting casinos

Mr Adesh Goel (left) with his lawyer, Mr Abraham Vergis. Mr Goel is suing the Resorts World Sentosa casino for more than $400,000 for detaining and allegedly manhandling him in April 2012.
Mr Adesh Goel (left) with his lawyer, Mr Abraham Vergis. Mr Goel is suing the Resorts World Sentosa casino for more than $400,000 for detaining and allegedly manhandling him in April 2012.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

S'pore PR had sought damages from another casino in Australia in 2001

An Australian lawyer and venture capitalist, who is suing the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) casino for more than $400,000 for detaining and manhandling him, was yesterday accused by the defendant's lawyer of targeting casinos for compensation.

Mr Adesh Goel, 43, who was held inside a room at the casino for about an hour in April 2012 following an altercation with another patron, is seeking damages against RWS for false imprisonment, assault and battery.

But while he was being cross-examined by RWS' lawyer, Senior Counsel N. Sreenivasan, it emerged that Mr Goel once sought compensation from the Star City casino in Australia for being irresponsible in serving him alcohol.

In the 2001 claim, Mr Goel alleged that Star City gave him three drinks every hour for five hours and allowed him to continue gambling while drinking.

The Australian casino compensated him in a settlement but Mr Goel yesterday refused to disclose the amount, citing confidentiality.

Objecting to this line of questions, Mr Goel's lawyer, Mr Abraham Vergis, argued that Mr Sreenivasan was trying to bring up prejudicial evidence.

Mr Sreenivasan replied: "To me, Mr Goel takes casinos as soft targets for compensation arising from his own conduct."

He questioned Mr Goel further, asking if he had been involved in any incident with security at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino.

Without going into detail, Mr Goel said that in 2010, he was pushed and detained by security officers in the MBS driveway after he forgot to swipe his identity card when leaving the casino.

In the latest incident, Mr Goel, a permanent resident here, had been gambling at RWS for 12 hours when a dispute broke out between him and a couple over a $50 chip.

After casino employees separated them, Mr Goel was led to a side room to cool down. Several times, he tried to leave but was blocked or restrained by employees and auxiliary police officers deployed to guard the casino.

He eventually called the police and left after they arrived. He was later found to have fractured his shoulder, which he said resulted from him being manhandled.

Footage of the events, captured on the casino's surveillance cameras, was shown in court yesterday.

Mr Vergis, in his opening statement, said it was unfair that the couple, who were the aggressors, were allowed to roam free while his client was held against his will for an hour. "Ironically, the cooling-off room turned out to be a pressure cooker that brought Mr Goel to a boiling point," he said.

Besides unspecified damages for his injuries and distress, Mr Goel is seeking about $400,000 for loss of income and $16,000 for medical costs. Sats Security Services, which provided the auxiliary police officers, has been named by RWS as a third party in the suit to bear the liability for any damages ordered.

Mr Sreenivasan suggested that Mr Goel was trying to "get some sort of payday" out of the incident.

He pointed to an Australian newspaper report which said he was seeking more than $1 million. Mr Goel also wanted $350,000 from RWS when it wanted to drop an allegation that he was drunk at the time.

Mr Goel denied providing the figure to the newspaper and said he deserved to be compensated because RWS had besmirched his reputation by alleging he was drunk.

He asked if Mr Sreenivasan would swop places with him after watching the footage.

The counsel replied: "If I'm given $1 million, I would probably swop my position with you."

The trial continues.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2015, with the headline 'Aussie lawyer suing RWS accused of targeting casinos'. Print Edition | Subscribe