Walkway suit brought against Sembawang Town Council by paralysed resident ‘resolved’

Justice Choo Han Teck (left), who heard the case, inspecting the walkway where Mr Aw Kian Chow fell in 2008. Looking on are Mr Aw’s lawyer, Mr N.Srinivasan (centre), and the town council’s lawyer, Mr P.E. Ashokan (right). The hearing ended after
Justice Choo Han Teck (left), who heard the case, inspecting the walkway where Mr Aw Kian Chow fell in 2008. Looking on are Mr Aw’s lawyer, Mr N.Srinivasan (centre), and the town council’s lawyer, Mr P.E. Ashokan (right). The hearing ended after two days.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Paralysed man, Sembawang Town Council agree to confidential terms

The lawsuit against the Sembawang Town Council brought by a former resident who became paralysed after falling in a sheltered walkway has come to an abrupt end.

Lawyers for both sides would only tell The Straits Times yesterday that the matter has been “resolved” and that the terms are confidential.

The outcome came after the case was heard in the High Court for two days, with only the plaintiff’s four witnesses taking the stand.

Mr Aw Kian Chow, 55, had sued the town council for negligence, seeking unspecified damages for the injuries he suffered, pain and suffering, loss of earnings and medical expenses.

Mr Aw, then a freelance accountant, was walking home one rainy evening in August 2008 when he slipped and fell at the walkway between Block 415, Block 415A and Block 419 in Sembawang Drive.

He injured his spinal cord and is now a tetraplegic – losing the use of all limbs and torso. Confined to a bed, he requires ventilator support, artificial life support and two care- givers to attend to him.

Mr Aw, represented by Mr N. Srinivasan, alleged that the town council had failed to properly maintain the walkway to ensure that it was safe for residents. But the town council, represented by Mr P.E. Ashokan, said the walkway was properly maintained and that its contractor had used a proper material to ensure safety.

On Monday, the hearing, which had been scheduled for five days, started with Mr Aw telling the court from a trolley bed that water overflowed on the walkway when it rained heavily.

On Tuesday, Mr Aw’s wife, Madam Angeline Zeng, 43, and Mr Norfazli Satle, 26, a passer-by who attended to Mr Aw after he fell, also said the walkway was slippery when it rained heavily. The other witness, engineer Eng Aik How, who carried out a slip-resistance test on the walkway, said there was a “moderate” contribution of the surface to the risk of slipping when wet.

There was no hearing on Wednesday as parties were in talks. Yesterday, a brief closed-door hearing was held in the judge’s chambers.