Club 85% to blame for golfer's fall, court rules

A court has held that Raffles Country Club is 85 per cent to blame for the head injuries suffered by a golfer who fell on his back after he slipped on a "slimy" puddle of water at its carpark.

District Judge Ronald Gwee found the puddle could not be just rainwater as it was "slimy and slippery".

In judgment grounds issued last month, he also questioned whether the carpark area was adequately maintained, as the club had failed to put up signs warning people that the surface could be slimy and slippery.

The club was sited in Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim in Boon Lay. In 2018, the Government acquired the land for the proposed Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project and to house the future Cross Island MRT line's western depot.

The club is no longer in existence, but it is understood that its insurance policy at the time of the incident kicked in to cover such contingencies.

The fall by golfer Robert White, who was a club member, took place on July 27, 2014.

He had parked his car on the unsheltered upper deck of the four-storey carpark and was walking towards the lift when he fell. It had rained earlier and he was aware of the puddles of water but not that the floor was slimy and slippery.

He received treatment for head injuries but was not hospitalised.

He sued the club for damages through his lawyer, Mr Harjeet Singh.

 
 

The club, defended by lawyer Susila Ganesan, denied liability, saying Mr White's own carelessness and/or negligence contributed to his fall, including failing to wear proper footwear.

Mr White was wearing golf shoes at the time as he had gone to the club to play golf, but the court found no evidence that wearing such shoes contributed to the fall.

The court held that Mr White should bear some responsibility for having stepped into a puddle of water knowingly and apportioned 15 per cent blame to him.

As the case was held in the State Courts, damages payable will not exceed $250,000. Assessment of the amount will be done separately at a future date.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2020, with the headline 'Club 85% to blame for golfer's fall, court rules'. Print Edition | Subscribe