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“I Taught You Wrong”, Said Grieving Mother of Son Who Died During National Service Training



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A court case that has been running since 2012 has been ruled out and claims from the family were dismissed.

It was argued that “there is no reasonable cause of action and that the suit is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process” reports The Independant.

Private Dominique Sarron Lee who joined National Service died due to an allergic reaction to smoke grenades. Although the training specified that no more than 2 grenades were permitted, the platoon commander threw six grenades instead.

Forensic pathologist of the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) to be due to an “acute allergic reaction to zinc chloride due to inhalation of zinc chloride fumes”, and that the Committees Of Inquiry believed that “if the Training Safety Regulations had been complied with, PTE Lee and his platoon mates would not have been subjected to smoke that was as dense as that during the incident”.

Dom’s family who filed a lawsuit against the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the platoon commander responsible, had their case struck out. The judge disagreed that the family were able to claim damages for breaching its contractual duty to ensure the highest standards of training safety and was told the family had to pay for the legal fees too.

The grieving mother of Pte Lee expressed her disappointment with the Court ruling and posted on the Facebook page dedicated to the memory of the soldier.

Her post writes:

“My dearest Dom, my heart continues to bleed for you. It has been 3 years and 10 months since you were taken from me and still, I haven’t been able to get any closure.

Today, Honourable Judicial Commissioner Kannan Remesh ruled that I have no case against those responsible for your death – the SAF and the 2 officers who did not follow the training exercise SOP. He also ruled that I have to pay for their legal costs.

Dom, how can I possibly pay them for taking away your life? Where is the justice? It seems, the price I paid has not been enough. Your death has not been high enough a price for SAF and the 2 officers, and now, not enough for Honourable Remesh, it seems.

They must be right, of course – the judge, the ministers, the SAF and their officers. They are experts in their fields. Individuals who studied and trained for years to be in their current positions.

What do I know? I’m only a mother to two sons. I only know to love my sons, to nurture them to become young men who will do right by others, to live with dignity, decency and human compassion. What do I know? They are the experts in their fields. They must know best. They do no wrong.

Dom, in these past 3+ years, I have been worn-down, beaten and defeated by the very government I taught you to trust; worn-down, beaten and defeated by the very system I counseled you to have faith in; worn-down, beaten and defeated by the very people I advised you to respect and honor.

Dom, forgive me. I taught you wrong.”


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