- POSTED: 02 Jan 2014 19:20
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Thai teenager Nitcharee Peneakchanasakm, who lost both her legs in an accident at the Ang Mo Kio MRT station on 3 April 2011, has had her claims of negligence dismissed with costs.
SINGAPORE: Thai teenager Nitcharee Peneakchanasakm, who lost both her legs in an accident at the Ang Mo Kio MRT station on 3 April 2011, has had her claims of negligence dismissed with costs.
Nitcharee Peneakchanasakm had sued SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for S$3.4 million, contending that they had breached their duty of care in negligence and also failed to ensure the station was reasonably safe for passengers.
In his 81-page written judgment released on Thursday, Judicial Commissioner Vinodh Coomaraswamy said that while Nitcharee's injuries are undoubtedly tragic, the law of negligence awards compensation based on a defendant's culpability, and not simply the harm suffered by the plaintiff.
The judge also found that Ang Mo Kio station was "reasonably safe" at the time Nitcharee suffered her injuries.
As a result, the defendants -- SMRT and LTA -- are not liable in negligence for those injuries.
Based on video footage that was shown in court, Nitcharee was seen standing behind the yellow safety line. She suddenly fell forward, flipped over the edge and landed on the tracks. Seconds later, the train ran over her legs. She did not appear to have been pushed.
Ms Nitcharee was 14 years old when she fell onto the tracks at Ang Mo Kio MRT station in April 2011. She was on a month long holiday from Thailand and was attending English lessons in Singapore. She now attends school in Bangkok and has prosthetic legs fitted.
Despite the outcome, defence lawyer K Anparasan said Ms Nitcharee's injuries are tragic.
He said: "But at the end of the day, the court made a finding based on the law. The law makes a finding based on culpability meaning who is at fault, so the issue is whether the LTA and SMRT were at fault.
“The court made a finding of fact that Ang Mo Kio MRT station, from which she fell off, was reasonably safe at the material time. I think that is the standard the court looked at and that's an objective standard and we are complying with all the necessary safety features and in fact, it has exceeded certain jurisdictions like the US and UK."
The plaintiff has one month to appeal.
Ms Nitcharee's lawyer Cosmas Gomez said he will meet the family soon to decide on the next course of action.
When contacted by Channel NewsAsia, the Royal Thai embassy declined comment on this case.