Dominique: a boy who did not die in vain

Posted 6 March, 2016 by Surely
in Real Lives, Real Stories

A great social injustice occurred in the past week.
One Full Time National Serviceman (NSF) named Dominique Sarron Lee died in 2012 due to an allergy reaction to zinc chloride fumes from smoke grenade.
The amount of smoke grenades used were 300% over the Training Safety Regulations!

Dominique himself

Dominique himself

A COI (Committee of Inquiry) was formed and found the Platoon Commander and Chief Safety Officer to be negligent.
However when the parents of Dominique sought justice via the Courts, their law suit was struck out by the Defendants which was made up of the Government and the two officers.
They relied on a little known law provision that granted immunity for armed forces personnel.
What was worse is that the parents are made to pay for legal cost of the Defendants!

Dominique’s mother shared her thoughts over this grave grievance on this Facebook post.
It was heart-shattering to read it.
But read it, you must.

Excerpt of Dom's mum Facebook post

Excerpt of Dom’s mum Facebook post

I am not a parent but I can imagine her sorrows.
You send your boy to the army and he serves the nation well.
One day, he dies due to a negligent act of his superiors.
Yet you cannot even get any closure because the government relies on a technicality to deny you justice.

I am not a lawyer.
However, I believe a just, reasonable Attorney-General should have waived its immunity.
I am sure that most tax-payers would be willing to compensate the parents of the deceased for their loss.
Money is not much of consolation but a favourable verdict will provide closure to the poor family.

I am not a judge.
If I am, I will not award cost to the Defendants.
Doing so is akin to rubbing salt into the parents’ reopened wounds.

Is this just?

Is this just?

I am an ex-NSF who has served in the SAF.
I understand the need to protect conscripted SAF personnel from personal lawsuits for acts that are performed during service.
However, I do not agree that this immunity should be extended to protect SAF regulars who blatantly went against the TSR.

I am a Singaporean.
I love my country and am proud of our achievements.
This incident has made me feel ashamed of how a nation as advanced as ours has treated a fellow countryman.

I am an Insurance person.
It does not cost much to insure a teenage boy on a decent coverage sum for only 2 years.
What is stopping the SAF from doing so?

I am a pragmatic person.
If the government wished to retain its immunity for the armed force personnel, it should have created a no-fault insurance compensation scheme, akin to Workman Compensation Act.
If foreign workers are able to have one, our NS boys deserve the same and more.

I am a human.
I am able to feel the pain of a family which has been denied equity.
However, all is not lost.
Singaporeans are starting to open up their eyes.
Hopefully, it will help to secure a safer and better future for our NSF boys.


Lastly, please do not forget Dom and his motto.
Duty. Honour. Country.
SuperflyDom, you shall be missed.


P.S. Links to the case if you wish to read up further
The Straits Times report of the lawsuit.
Mindef COI findings.
In memory of Dominique Sarron Lee.

Latest Update on 8/3/16 – No compensation from SAF accepted.
Family of Dom did not accept the compensation and challenged SAF to be transparent over the amount so that the public will know how much their Singaporean Son’s life is worth to the SAF.
Kudos to the family ! aims to eradicate the knowledge gap between consumers and Life Insurance. Our Vision is that one day, every Man, Woman, and Child will be properly insured.

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