Condominium neighbours in court over woman's alleged splashing of water, bouncing of basketball

Condominium neighbours in court over woman's alleged splashing of water, bouncing of basketball

Citylife @ Tampines condominium
Screengrab from Google Street View of Citylife @ Tampines condominium.

SINGAPORE: A woman went on trial on Tuesday (Jan 19) for allegedly abusive behaviour, such as repeatedly splashing water down into her first-floor neighbour's condominium unit and deliberately bouncing a ball and causing "unreasonable noise".

Madam Helen Lim Hai Loon is accusing Lee Soh Geok in a private prosecution of abusive behaviour likely to cause harassment and distress between Jan 29, 2019 and May 22, 2020.

Lee lives with her mother in the unit right above Madam Lim's unit at Citylife @ Tampines condominium. She is contesting three charges under the Protection from Harassment Act of deliberately splashing rain water or waste water from her second-floor unit onto the roof extension of Mdm Lim's home, and of deliberately bouncing a ball and causing unreasonable noise from her apartment.

Mdm Lim recorded the acts in a notebook that was shown in court, and has obtained more than 70 video or audio clips of the splashing acts as well as 10 clips of ball-bouncing incidents.

The court heard that the parties attempted mediation but this failed, leading to their court appearances. Lee was not represented.

Mdm Lim, an accounts executive, took the stand and confirmed with her lawyer Luke Lee that she had filed 12 police reports between January 2019 and June 2020, but was told that the police would not prosecute Lee.

She said she recalled the number of incidents as she recorded them in a notebook as soon as it happened, indicating "B" for ball-bouncing incidents and "S" for splashing ones.

The court was shown multiple clips of a person - whom Mdm Lim identified as Lee - splashing water using buckets, pails or scoops, down the balcony of the second floor onto the first floor.

The water would trickle down to her pathway, onto her metal gate, into her blinds and onto her patio floor, said Mdm Lim.

In one incident, her children were at the patio area when they heard a splash and shouted at Lee to stop, she said. However, Lee allegedly splashed another bucket of water down and lifted her phone, making the children fear that they would be filmed.

The clips shown in court were taken by Mdm Lim, her domestic helper, or Mdm Lim's adjacent neighbour, who agreed to help.

The water splashed downstairs was at times clear, and at times soapy, said Mdm Lim. On one occasion, it smelled "very strongly of Clorox", and had to be washed away to prevent slips or damage to her children's skin.

Another clip taken on Feb 4, 2019, showed Mdm Lim's family having reunion dinner. The video clip showed water splashing down from upstairs, prompting the diners to stand up. This was not the first time this happened, said Mdm Lim.

LOUD BOUNCING SOUNDS DURING CIRCUIT BREAKER

Around the "circuit breaker" period last year, when no one was allowed to go out for non-essential activities, Mdm Lim's family began to be harassed by the loud sounds of a bouncing ball, she said.

On one occasion in April 2020, there was a "loud bouncing sound that lasted for about 45 minutes", Mdm Lim testified.

"Because we were all eating dinner, I had to ask my children to wear headphones to eat dinner, because it was quite annoying," she said.

She claimed that she later found out that Lee was bouncing a ball, as she went up a staircase where she could see Lee standing on her balcony bouncing the basketball.

"Honestly, my whole house was vibrating," said Mdm Lim. "I can tell it's coming from the top. My whole house can hear the 'pong, pong, pong'."

She explained that when the bouncing first began, her family sought help from condominium security. 

"Because it started during the COVID-19 period, when all (were in) lockdown, so my children were all having home learning and we tried to get security to go up to talk to her, but she just (told) us that she can do whatever she wants at her house," said Mdm Lim.

"And she also complained about a neighbour's dog barking and said that if we cannot get the dog to stop barking, we cannot get her to stop bouncing. That's why we gave up talking to her. Her bouncing (was) causing a lot of distress to us."

She said she recorded audio of the loud bouncing sound as people were asking her if she was affected by the bouncing. 

During the circuit breaker period, Lee allegedly continued to splash water, doing so multiple times with scoops and pails in the wee hours one day in May 2020.

"It actually makes me wonder - how does she have so many buckets of water," said Mdm Lim.

The trial continues before District Judge Salina Ishak. If convicted of using abusive behaviour, Lee could be fined up to S$5,000 per charge.

Source: CNA/ll

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