Flood losses: Rifle group fails to win bulk of claims

SRA's flooded armoury in the basement of the National Shooting Centre in Old Choa Chu Kang Road on May 3, 2015.
SRA's flooded armoury in the basement of the National Shooting Centre in Old Choa Chu Kang Road on May 3, 2015.ST FILE PHOTO

The Singapore Rifle Association (SRA), which had sued its parent body, the Singapore Shooting Association (SSA), seeking more than $450,000 over two flooding incidents, has failed to win the bulk of its claims.

The High Court yesterday ruled that SSA was liable to the SRA only for $4,708 in cleaning works for the second flood, but was not liable for the first flood, which resulted in 185,000 rounds of ammunition being submerged under water.

SSA, the national authority for shooting in Singapore, occupied the National Shooting Centre in Old Choa Chu Kang Road. It leased the premises from Sport Singapore (SportSG), formerly known as the Singapore Sports Council.

SRA, a founder member of SSA, operated an armoury in the basement of the centre.

The premises were handed over to SportSG in October 2013 for refurbishment works for the 2015 SEA Games, and returned to SSA on Dec 1, 2014.

On Dec 24, 2014, a collapsed slope at the bank of an unlined drain led to the blockage of the drainage channel. It caused a backflow of water to the armoury, which was flooded to a depth of more than 1m.

The second flood, on May 3, 2015, was due to blockage of a culvert that was choked by debris.

SRA blamed SSA for the floods. Its lawyer, Mr Wendell Wong, argued that SSA breached the duty of care it owed SRA to properly maintain and supervise the works.

But SSA, represented by lawyer Anthony Lee, said it did not owe SRA a duty of care and that it had no control over the works.

Yesterday, Judicial Commissioner Debbie Ong found that SSA did owe SRA a duty of care. She found that SSA had breached its duty by failing to check on the works after the premises were handed back, and to carry out necessary rectifications to ensure safety.

However, she noted that even if SSA had begun rectification works, they might not be in time to prevent the first flood, which occurred 24 days after the handover. So she found that SSA's breach could not be said to have caused the first flood.

But by May 3, 2015, SSA would have known there were issues with the water drainage infrastructure. By failing to take measures to avoid a second flood, SSA directly caused loss to SRA, she said.

A spokesman for SRA said it felt "vindicated" that the court found SSA owed a duty of care to SRA and had breached it. "SRA will study the decision carefully and take advice on issues of monetary compensation," said the spokesman.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2017, with the headline 'Flood losses: Rifle group fails to win bulk of claims'. Print Edition | Subscribe