Nov 08, 2013

    Judge holds accident settlement, seeks probe

    The Straits Times

    A HIGH Court judge refused to accept a settlement mutually agreed by two motorists in a road accident, and instead referred the case to the Attorney-General's Chambers for investigation.

    Justice Choo Han Teck found it "unusual" that Mr Andy Tan, 42, had been involved in six accidents in seven years. Mr Tan is also a recently discharged bankrupt who changed his name in 2011.

    Justice Choo said the information relating to Mr Tan may be "truly coincidental (for him) to have had such bad luck but the circumstances indicate a fuller inquiry might be necessary".

    The court would not endorse a settlement until then, he said.

    Mr Tan's van was rear-ended by a bus on May 26, 2010, in an accident in Marsiling Road towards the Woodlands Checkpoint.

    Lawyerscould not remember another case in recent times in which an agreement to settle an accident claim was rejected by the court.

    Mr Tan suffered back injuries which left him jobless and he needed two operations last year that cost more than $100,000, he said.

    The bus driver accepted 95 per cent of the blame and both parties had applied to court to record the consent judgement, so that damages could be assessed and paid to Mr Tan.

    Then came Tuesday's road block from Justice Choo, who said there were "serious questions" to be addressed which the defendant may not have the means to probe - hence he would have the case referred to the A-G.

    Justice Choo made clear he was "not making any assumptions" but more details about the other accidents involving Mr Tan were needed.

    Lawyers Michael Loh and Viviene Kaur Sandhu, who represent Mr Tan, said: "We believe our client's claims are genuine and we are studying the judgment."