Manhandled by RWS security, lawyer is awarded $46,000
Aussie lawyer awarded $46,000 after suing RWS for wrongful detention
A lawyer from Australia has been awarded close to $46,000 in damages after he won a law suit against Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) for wrongly detaining him.
Mr Adesh Kumar Goel, 43, was held in a room in April 2012 after an altercation with another patron.
During the time he was in the room, Mr Goel said he was manhandled by security officers, which left him with a fracture to his right shoulder, a labral tear, a rotator cuff injury and a "frozen shoulder".
He took RWS to court in 2013, seeking some $250,000 in damages.
During a 10-day trial in the High Court, the court heard that Mr Goel, who also runs a venture capital firm, likes going to casinos.
A Singapore permanent resident, he frequented RWS and was a high roller with a Genting Rewards Gold Card.
On April 21, 2012, he entered the casino at about 4.30pm, where he spent 12 hours gambling.
At about 4.15am on April 22, Mr Goel was at a Pontoon table - a game similar to Blackjack - when he sat between a couple, Mr Tan Chee Kheng and Miss Loi You Phing.
About 10 minutes into his game, Mr Tan mistakenly took a $50 gaming chip that belonged to Mr Goel.
This sparked an altercation between the men, with CCTV footage showing Mr Tan appearing agitated and gesticulating at a seated Mr Goel.
After defusing the situation, the shift manager introduced herself to Mr Goel and assured him that she would take care of his interrupted game, asking if he would go with her to a side room to discuss the incident.
While waiting for the manager, CCTV footage showed Mr Goel exchanging words with security officers. The casino claimed he was rude to the officers but Mr Goel said he was just rejecting the offer to enter the room.
In the side room, Mr Goel was prevented from leaving several times, and the door was locked with an electronic lock.
He was eventually let out about 1½ hours later - at 6.25am - accompanied by police officers that he had called.
CCTV footage showed that in the first 10 minutes, Mr Goel got into several scuffles with a security officer when he tried to leave the room, took photographs of the security officer and tried to snatch the officer's identification card.
Later, between 5.33am and 5.48am, there was another round of scuffles.
Footage showed Mr Goel being restrained by auxiliary police officers who entered the room later as he tried to force his way to the door. During the scuffle, he was pushed against the wall twice.
At several moments, he was seen to be speaking to the CCTV cameras, as though appealing for help from security staff watching the live footage. He also appeared to have calmed down at some points and could be seen speaking amicably.
Mr Goel then shifted all the furniture in the room to create a barricade around him, before peculiarly lying on the floor for several seconds at 5.43am.
About five minutes later, the police officers arrived and took a statement from Mr Goel before escorting him out. He left the casino with a deep resentment and a one-year ban from entering the casino.
In a 25-page judgment released yesterday, Justice Choo Han Teck wrote that the casino had no legal basis to detain Mr Goel.
Furthermore, the auxiliary police officers were acting on instructions of the casino staff and had no say in the matter.
"After watching the footage and considering the evidence of the parties, I am of the view that Mr Goel, the casino staff and the APOs (auxiliary police officers) involved in this case had little respect for each other. The staff thought of Mr Goel as a troublemaker...
"Mr Goel, on the other hand, believed that the staff acted unfairly and rudely when he (Mr Goel) was the innocent party... (and) seemed to be particularly displeased and difficult whenever the APOs or the casino security officers were near him, and wanted to speak only to senior officers of the casino," Justice Choo wrote.
He found that the casino was liable for 80 per cent of the damages awarded, while the remaining 20 per cent of blame went to the APOs.
This was because while the APOs were acting on instruction from casino staff, they were also the ones who inflicted more force on Mr Goel and caused him to be hit against a wall.
Responding to media queries, an RWS spokesman said the casino "respects and is pleased" with the judgment and looks forward to the next round of proceedings in the High Court.
What he was awarded
False imprisonment: $4,000
Pain and suffering (for shoulder injury): $25,000
Medical expenses: $15,990.74
Transport expenses: $925